State Legislators Battle Back Against LGBT Agenda, Retaliation

LGBT Activists - AP Photo-Emery P. Dalesio
AP File Photo/Emery P. Dalesio

State legislators from across America are fighting back against the LGBT agenda and their activist’s retaliation against states over religious liberty legislation. Forty Texas state legislators joined with over one-hundred legislators nationally in writing to business leaders who are threatening action against states who have passed such bills.

“Historically, religious liberties have been a top priority liberty in the United States, beginning with the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Texas State Representative Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) said to Breitbart Texas in an interview. “Over time, as government agencies and activist courts interfered with the intent of this constitutional liberty, legislation has been passed at both the federal and state levels in order to insure that the freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights were observed and practiced within our legal framework.”

“Currently, governments around the country are using the force of law, along with its powers of punishment, to attempt to force people to act against their religious beliefs and their consciences,” Sanford continued. “This leaves us with a question, ‘Do we really want to live in a nation whose government uses it powers to force people to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs under the penalty of law, particularly as it relates to the participation in a sacred ceremony?’”

“Most Americans would say no to that question, and would expect our laws to protect religious persons from such government discrimination,” the Texas state representative concluded. “Therefore, legislatures across the nation are responding to insure that religious beliefs are respected and that rights of conscience be preserved.”

Governors from Mississippi and North Carolina recent signed laws protecting religious liberties of individuals and small business owners in their states and now, LGBT activists are pressuring businesses to boycott their states by denying conventions, major sporting events and concerts. Georgia Governor Nathen Deal succumbed to LGBT pressure and vetoed his state’s bill dealing with religious liberty.

Legislators from across the United States joined in sending a letter to some of these companies who are pressuring states to back away from bills designed to protect their citizen’s religious liberties guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The letter (attached below), signed by over 100 state representatives and state senators was addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, NCAA CEO Mark Emmert, Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter, and Disney CEO Robert Iger.

We write to you today because you recently issued statements against religious liberty legislation in various states around the country. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, we understand that you may have been misinformed and misguided into a position of condoning and promoting government use of the force of law against people of faith in America.

Human dignity requires that a person be free to exercise his or her religious faith; and that no government entity will discriminate or oppress a person based on the person’s thoughts or beliefs.

Freedom of conscience and freedom exercise of religion can include nothing less than the way a person lives all aspects of his or her life. As a nation, our laws must encourage and support, not penalize, citizens who seek to adhere to their moral convictions.

Religious liberties form the first freedom in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment prevents government from infringing on the free exercise of religion. In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to redefine this foundational truth to mean people of faith can freely exercise their faith in their heart and home, not in the public square. We are here to help correct this false narrative. God, Judeo-Christian principles and prayer are an integral part of our nation’s Founding; and together undergirds freedom for all Americans.

Government, unelected Justices, and big businesses should not be in the business of forcing individuals and entities to act in a manner that contradicts their conscience. The Obergefell decision, the United States Supreme Court’s effort to redefine marriage throughout America, has left private schools, charities, businesses, churches or individuals that disagree unprotected. We need laws protecting their right to live their faith, thus the reason for the recent bill in Georgia. All across this nation, people of faith are being fined, severely penalized or even serving jail time for simply adhering to their deeply held convictions.

Now, most “non-discrimination acts or ordinances” provide special protections based on sexual identity and orientation and undermine the original definition of religious freedom. The pressure to leave faith at the door of the public square is continually increasing for religious schools, nonprofits, public employees, private employees, small business owners, and entities interacting with the government via grants, contracts, or other means (including obtaining tax accommodations from the government). All of these individuals and entities (and more) should be protected from government coercion that would make them violate their consciences.

Lastly, if you were to remove your events and other economic activities from every state that already has significant religious liberty legislation or state court decisions with the same effect, you will find yourselves operating in an increasingly shrinking pool of states. As of now, 32 states contain these, and others are in the process of adoption.

Please ask yourselves this question: “Do we really want to live in a society where our government may, under the penalty of law, force its citizens to engage in the promotion or solemnization of an act that they find contrary to their conscience and their religious beliefs?” Your efforts are indeed forging a path that contradicts and undermines the principles and concepts that our Founders incorporated as the building blocks of this Constitutional Republic.

We, the undersigned, hereby encourage you to reconsider your recent public threats. We stand ready to meet with you in order to help you more fully understand the issues facing America’s significant religious population that form the basis of the First Freedom in our Constitution.

In South Carolina, State Senator Lee Bright (R-Columbia) is fighting back, the Associated Press’ Jeffrey Collins reported. “I’ve about had just about enough of this. Years ago, we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance and tolerance. And now they want men who claim to be women to go in the bathroom with children,” Bright said in a fight reminiscent of last year’s battle in Houston over Mayor Annise Parker’s bathroom ordinance. The South Carolina state senator put forth legislation to keep transgender people in restrooms conforming to their sex at birth.

South Carolina’s moderate Republican Governor Nikki Haley said Bright’s proposal is not needed. It appears Haley may also be feeling the pressure of business leaders in her state.

Texas is not immune to pressure from the LGBT community and activists. On Tuesday, Breitbart Texas reported that many of the state’s business leaders have surrendered to the LGBT agenda. The Texas business leaders appear anxious to avoid actions that could lead LGBT activists to cause events like Bruce Springsteen’s Dallas concert, the NCAA Final Four event, or even next year’s Super Bowl, scheduled for Houston, to be threatened.

Dallas Morning News reporter Mitchell Schnurman wrote:

Texas has dodged such controversies so far, largely because business leaders pushed back against so-called religious liberty bills a year ago. A coalition of companies and civil rights groups helped to hold off proposals that were widely seen as state-sanctioned discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender people.

As a result, other states, not Texas, are dealing with a public firestorm and a backlash from business and beyond.

In support of religious liberty legislation, Texas State Senator Joan Huffman, chairman of the Senate Committee on State Affairs, told Breitbart Texas in February, “There should never be an excuse for government to force individuals, organizations, or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Rep. Sanford summed up the need for religious liberty legislation saying, “Today, we find ourselves with a new legal framework due to a significant Supreme Court decision that seems to allow for an infringement on religious practices and rights of conscience that have been enjoyed since this country’s inception. Again, as in times past, legislatures are finding it necessary to codify the desires of the Founders when they penned the Constitution and the first ten amendments.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.