AUSTIN (KXAN) — Clergy from diverse faith traditions gathered at the Texas Capitol Wednesday to call on state lawmakers to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans from discrimination and reject proposed legislation they say would turn religion into a license to discriminate.
The group spoke as part of the Texas Believes, a coalition of faith leaders who support full equality for LGBT Texans.
“The Bible I read does not tell me to discriminate against my neighbor, but to love my neighbor and to treat everyone as I would like to be treated,” said Rev. Dr. Michael Diaz, associate pastor of Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ in Dallas. “Like the majority of Texans, I believe it’s time our state laws reflect the same sense of respect to gay and transgender Texans.”
Polling from the Public Religion Research Institute shows that 64 percent of Texans support laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in jobs, public services and housing. The same polling shows that 57 percent oppose allowing businesses to refuse to provide products or services to LGBT people for religious reasons.
Legislators have filed a number of bills this session to update the state’s nondiscrimination laws to include protections for LGBT Texans. In contrast, at least three other bills would allow businesses, mental health counselors, other licensed professionals and even government officials to refuse service to LGBT Texans for religious reasons.
Clergy can sign on to a letter calling on legislators to protect LGBT Texans from discrimination here.