Rep. Wayne Christian proposed the amendment
An amendment to the Texas state budget bill just passed the Texas House that requires that if public universities wish to spend taxpayer dollars on projects like LGBT resource centers, they must spend the same amount on promoting “traditional and family values.”
The amendment passed the state House 110-24 (Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Texas House 2:1).
But what exactly does “traditional and family values” mean? Well, that could be our loophole to sneak around this ridiculous proposal. In my family, it is traditional to value your friends, neighbors, and strangers as equal members of society. Thus, an LGBT resource center would be the “traditional and family values” I like to call inclusion and acceptance.
Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns: “It gets better.”
The City Council of Austin, Texas is taking greater steps to promote equality by considering a resolution to favor those companies that support workplace equality!
From the Austin Business Journal:
The Austin City Council may take up a resolution this week that would ratchet up protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered employees of companies that contract with the city and give added consideration to businesses seeking loans or incentives from the city that offer domestic partner benefits.
The resolution under consideration adds to an ordinance the city passed in 1992 prohibiting all city contractors from discriminating against prospective and existing employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The new measure would mandate that all contractors with the city provide an actual copy of their employment non-discrimination agreement. Noncompliance would result in the termination of the contract and could hinder the company’s ability to secure future work with the city, a draft of the resolution states.
The resolution also calls for the city manager to amend all economic loan programs and incentives, including the city’s Business Retention and Enhancement Program and others, encouraging companies seeking incentives to provide domestic partner benefits and have non-discrimination policies.
The measure is being sponsored by Council members Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman.
In a letter to council members, Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce President Chad Peevy encouraged approval of the measure. “The passing of this resolution will send a clear message to the greater community that Austin is a supportive and inclusive environment for people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” he wrote.
Though legislation known as the Employee Non-Discrimination Act is being pushed in Congress, there are currently no laws at the federal or state level protecting employees from workplace discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The city of Austin already offers domestic partner benefits to all of its employees. Austin voters approved that measure, which required a change to the city charter, in 2006.