The conservative Christian group Texas Values declared Wednesday “Save Chick-fil-A Day,” in response to San Antonio banning the fast food chain from its airport, and in support of two anti-LGBTQ bills being debated in the House.
“If there’s a couple of things that are certainly clear in Texas, it’s that you don’t mess with Chick-fil-A, and you don’t mess with religious freedom,” the group’s president, Jonathan Saenz, said in a press conference at the Texas Capitol, where he and other faith leaders and activists spoke. They were also there to advocate for HB 1035 and HB 3172.
Both bills would allow for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, particularly related to marriage, and gender identity, as long as the individual or business cites a religious belief as their motivation. A spokesperson for Equality Texas called them “the two most extreme anti-LGBTQ bills filed this session,” Out in SA reports.
“In other words, a person who blatantly practices discrimination cannot lose a government loan, contract, public university admission, accreditation or professional license, as long as they claim a ’sincerely held religious belief.'”
Texas Values updated throughout the day from its Facebook page, including a video of Saenz with Sen. Ted Cruz, and another of Saenz’s testimony in favor of the so-called “religious freedom” bills.
LGBTQ advocates were also at the Capitol, and they too testified and held a press conference, in which representatives of the community stressed the importance of protecting LGBTQ rights.
“LGBTQ Texas are vital members of every community in Texas, and deserve the same opportunities as everyone else, to live, work, and contribute to this state,” said Samantha Smoot, Equality Texas Interim Executive Director. “But these most basic rights are again under attack in the Texas legislature. Under the leadership of Dan Patrick, the Senate has already passed, as of last night now, five anti-LGBT bills.”
“One of my fears is that the language that’s being used in a lot of this legislation defines biological sex as binary and immutable, which basically writes me out of existence in the eyes of Texas law,” said intersex activist Alicia Roth Weigel.
“I’m here to just remind people that I exist, and I’m a living, breathing human being staring them here in the face. I will be here each and every time to fight legislation that seeks to erase people like me. We’re not going anywhere.”
We are STILL at the Capitol tonight for a long night of hearings. Some bills define sex as binary and immutable. This worries intersex activist @xoxy_alicia who refuses to be written out of existence. #LGBTQ #intersex #TXlege #wontbeerased pic.twitter.com/NF1HDi3CwH
— Equality Texas (@EqualityTexas) April 18, 2019