Modifications to Texas religious objection law opposed by some lawmakers

04/07/2015 // West Palm Beach, Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Texas – Enacted in 1999, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows residents of Texas to sue state and local government entities they feel have impeded on their rights concerning their religious beliefs or practices. Two lawmakers are now proposing changes to the law that some say they will not support, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.

Opponents say that changes proposed by Republicans Rep. Matt Krause and Sen. Donna Campbell will promote discrimination against individuals who are gay and possibly incite the same kind of backlash against the state seen in Arkansas and Indiana recently.

The current law specifies that it cannot be used to undermine federal and state civil rights protections. The proposed amendments; however, do not make explicit that the law cannot be applied in attempts to justify sexual orientation based discrimination.

Kathy Miller, president of the advocacy group Texas Freedom Network, has said of the measures, “They go further than the irresponsible bills that sparked the backlash in Indiana and Arkansas… These bills are bad for Texas.”

Krause has said that his proposed amendment would provide constitutional support for the current law and supersede local ordinances.

Texas Association of Business’ Chief Executive Officer Bill Hammond referred to the measures as “misguided legislation.”


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