LCR Texas 2017 Legislative Agenda
March 8, 2017
The Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, after careful and thorough deliberation, adopted the following positions on a selected set of Senate and House bills introduced in the 2017 legislative session. After canvassing all our member chapters, the Board of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas deemed these selected bills to be of special importance to its members across the state, and to the people of Texas as a whole. The Board evaluated each bill in relation to the core values and beliefs of the Republican Party, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights; and to the mission of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas. We respect the important and difficult work of every legislator, and thank each one for his or her service to our state.
SB 4 – Sanctuary Cities
Respect for the rule of law is one of the cornerstones of the Republican Party, and of our republic. As Republicans, we support the ability of the State of Texas to determine when local municipalities are overstepping their authority by not only failing to abide by federal law, but in some cases actively obstructing the ability of federal Immigration and customs enforcement agents in performing their duties. We can imagine federal laws protecting our civil rights undermined by localities that do not agree with them. For this reason, we believe that SB 4 is a good bill worthy of being passed, and call for a vote of ‘yes.’
HB 375 – Constitutional Carry
Whereas the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is indispensable to liberty, reforming state law to ensure that it is in line with the intent of our founding fathers is not only important to the Log Cabin Republican of Texas, but to all Texans. We support the passage of this bill on the grounds that it reinforces and strengthens our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and call for a vote of ‘yes.’
HB 428 – Religious Freedom at Universities
Religious student organizations are not exempt from the guarantees of the rights to free expression and freedom of association promised in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the same right of free speech and assembly already asserted by the courts on behalf of gay students in Gay Student Services vs. Texas A&M. This right that applies equally to all – even with those with whom we disagree. Therefore, we support HB 428 on the grounds that it simply reinforces basic First Amendment rights, and call for a vote of ‘yes.’
SB 6 – Bathroom & Birth Certificates
While we are fully supportive of the elements of the bill restoring property rights to the property owners in the state of Texas, and the intent of ensuring the comfort and safety of our citizens in our communities, we believe the requirement in the current bill for using birth certificates for determining appropriate use of restrooms and changing facilities in government buildings does not achieve those goals. In fact, we believe the bill in its current form not only puts some individuals in an impossible situation, it also creates new problems for the very people it aims to protect. LCR Texas reaffirms its support of private property rights and the First Amendment, but we cannot support this bill as it stands today, and call for a vote of ‘no.’
HB 1813 – Religious Exemption for County Clerks
While religious freedom is a core element of the First Amendment fully supported by the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, religious exemption from performing the lawful duties of elected office is not a core element of any part of the U.S. Constitution. An elected Christian county clerk can no more decline to perform lawful duties related to marriages with which they disagree than a Muslim or atheist clerk can decline the same in regards to a Christian marriage. Furthermore, the bill selects one specific viewpoint on marriage for a special protection not extended to other viewpoints. Elected officials are elected to and required to serve all of those members of the society in the jurisdiction in which they were elected, not just the ones they agree with politically or morally. Allowing elected county clerks to act as business owners in refusal of services directly contradicts the fact that these officials are not owners of the government, rather they are public employees paid by the taxpayer they professed to serve. Therefore, we oppose HB 1813, and call for a vote of ‘no.’
HB 1923 – Religious Exemption for Providing General Services
We at the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas fully understand the need for reform in this area of the law given recent attempts by the left to use non-discrimination state laws and local ordinances to infringe on legitimate First Amendment and property rights. In fact, LCR of Texas has entered into a formal partnership with the Texas Young Republicans Federation and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas to specifically address the real concerns and fears of those who believe they will be targeted because of their views on marriage. As the father of the gay marriage movement made clear, no one should be persecuted or legally driven out of business simply because of their views on same-sex marriage – for or against. However, this bill selects one specific viewpoint on marriage for a special protection not extended to other viewpoints, and unnecessarily violates the parameters of the Republican-passed Civil Rights Act of 1964. Lastly, by singling out a specific viewpoint for this protection, the bill implicitly surrenders the right of refusal to enter into a contract for other reasons – likely leading to the very loss of freedom the bill claims to protect. We at the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas stand ready and prepared to work with fellow Republicans to address the concerns of conservative Christians, Jews and Muslims who now fear the prospect of reverse harmful discrimination, making sure to address those concerns under the terms of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the principle of limited government of the Republican Party. HB 1923 violates those terms, to the detriment of every citizen of our great state of Texas. Therefore, we oppose HB 1923, and call for a vote of ‘no.’
We ask your support in the positions articulated here, and call on all fair-minded Texas, regarding all the bills before our state legislature, to base their positions on the principles and an even-handed application of the values that make our state strong and free.