|This is an older file which is come back to have new meaning|
not only in Texas but many other states other states
After the 2015 Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, LGBT advocates were hit with an onslaught of state bills to allow workers, public and private, to deny certain services if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Other bills have sought to deny transgender people the use of the public bathroom of their choice. Just five of the 200-plus measures were enacted into law.
But this year, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, those favoring "religious freedom" and associated bills have been emboldened. Already, at least 40 anti-LGBT bills have been introduced in 16 states, according to the HRC. And President Donald Trump has pledged to sign a federal "First Amendment Defense Act," which prohibits the federal government from taking "discriminatory action," such as denying a federal grant or contract, against anyone whose behavior is dictated by a religious opposition to same-sex relationships or extramarital and premarital sex.
"It's happening because they are making a political statement, not because it's good policy," says Cathryn Oakley, senior legislative counsel at the HRC. Most of the anti-LGBT legislation in 2016 was offered in southern states, and 2017 battlegrounds are shaping up the same way, with bills being introduced in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. Conversely, states in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and West coast last year approved 48 laws expanding rights and services for LGBT people. In California alone, HRC reports, lawmakers approved 16 such bills, including one requiring school districts/boards to adopt suicide prevention policies addressing the needs of high-risk groups, including LGBTQ youth, and allowing organ transfers between patients who are both HIV-reactive.
The FADA laws go further than the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, which were aimed at, for example, allowing a pastry maker to decline to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The FADA bills, foes warn, could conceivably allow landlords to deny apartments to single mothers, or allow a hospital to refuse to treat an LGBT person or sexually active, unmarried person, if the service providers believe such behavior violates their religious beliefs about marriage.
Social conservatives defend the FADA bills as essential to protecting the work of small businesses as well as groups like the Salvation Army.
"No person or nonprofit should lose tax-exempt status, face disqualification, lose a professional license or be punished by the federal government simply for believing what President Obama believed just three years ago, that marriage is the union of a man and a woman," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in a policy statement on the legislation.
A Mississippi FADA law, approved last year, has been declared unconstitutional by a federal district court and remains in litigation. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, introduced a federal FADA in the last Congress, and supporters are hopeful they will have more success this year, with Trump in the White House.