2018 Legislative Priority:
Religious Freedom & Privacy
Understand the Issue
“Pass legislation prohibiting the violation of the rights and freedoms of individuals, organizations and businesses, to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs by local ordinances or state laws; and pass legislation that protects the privacy and safety of women and children in multi-use facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in all Texas schools and government buildings and oppose legislation that would undermine these privacy and safety protections.”
— Republican Party of Texas legislative priority
This particular priority deals with both religious freedom and privacy issues, was the second highest ranked Legislative Priority voted on by the Delegates in San Antonio, garnishing 94.4% of nearly 8000 delegate activist votes.
Texas has the opportunity to advance the line in the 2019 legislative session. The need for religious freedom and conscience protections continues to increase, specifically when it comes to the issues of marriage and human sexuality. With the added support of these issues in the Republican Legislative Priorities, we believe strong, pro-family legislation must be passed.
Earlier this year, GOP voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 6 (over 90%–1,391,732 votes statewide, which is more votes than all but one statewide GOP primary candidate received) which was modeled after the Texas Privacy Act. Proposition 6 ranked third out of eleven issues, and was even higher than repealing Obamacare, a GOP priority for years. Prior primaries have had religious freedom related propositions and routinely win with about a 10:1 or greater margin of victory.
Unfortunately, local governments, including schools, in Texas are adopting “sexual-orientation and gender identity” (SOGI) policies. Under these SOGI policies, individuals, organizations, and business can be punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. These policies are also used to allow a man who claims to identify as a woman access to intimate spaces such as showers, locker rooms, sleeping areas, restrooms and vice versa.
Democrats have already filed multiple SOGI bills this session. Some bills force business owners to allow men into women’s restrooms- and if the business owners don’t comply- they face criminal penalties. One bill removes the words “mother” and “father” from birth certificates. Another bill forces counselors to affirm the LGBT agenda- no matter what religious beliefs they hold.
It is critical that dangerous SOGI bills are defeated and strong religious freedom bills are put into law. Privacy for students in public schools should not be compromised. In addition, strong pro-life bills must be passed to protect the unborn. Here are some specific issues to discuss with legislators to address in the upcoming session:
- Individuals, business owners, health care providers, and government workers continue to be threatened and sued for their sincerely held religious beliefs on marriage and human sexuality.
- Edie Delorme, a cake baker in Longview Texas declined to design a cake for a same-sex wedding because she believes marriage is between one man and one woman. After she declined to design the cake, she and her family received horrific threats, including to be burned inside their home and their son to be assaulted. Edie obtained legal counsel from First Liberty.
- Jack Phillips was victorious at the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission after the Colorado Commission on Civil Rights attacked Jack for his religious beliefs in 2018. Jack was happy to serve everyone, but he politely declined to design cakes that were offensive or violated his sincerely held religious beliefs. Unfortunately, Jack is back in court because the same government that punished him for declining to design a same-sex wedding cake is now punishing him for declining to design a “gender transition cake.”
- Justice of the Peace, Bill Metzger, from Dallas County has sought to exercise his religious liberty rights to not be forced to perform marriages that violate his religious beliefs. Because of his stance, he and his family have received significant threats.
- Religious homeless shelters are at risk of being forced to allow men into women’s sleeping quarters.
- Catholic hospitals are being sued when elected controversial surgeries are declined due to the hospital’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
- Texas parents continue to be concerned because school districts are passing SOGI policies that put their children’s privacy at risk.
- The Department of Education is investigating a horrific incident in which a young girl in kindergarten was sexually assaulted because the school had a policy that allowed boys into girls’ facilities.
- Schools in Texas, like Fort Worth ISD and Dripping Springs ISD have used so-called “nondiscrimination” policies to allow boys to go into girls’ showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
Talk to Your Community
Are you all in? Share these sample social media posts to start the conversation with your friends. Use the talking points to drive your message home when talking with friends or reporters. Send the sample Letter to the Editor to your local newspaper to spread the word.
- Religious Freedom is vital to the success of our nation. We must #DefendReligiousFreedom at all levels of Government!
- Individuals should not be attacked for their religious views #ReligiousFreedom
- The Republican Party was founded on freedom. We must ensure we defend it in all forms, especially #ReligiousFreedom!
- The Republican Party has always stood for Religious Freedom and will continue to do so, for all citizens regardless of religion.
- The left is so blinded they can’t see their own bigotry against those who have sincere religious beliefs.
- The privacy and protection of children should always come before the policy of appeasement.
- Texans should demand the state ensure the defense of those who stand by their Religious beliefs and face undue criticism.
Talk to Your Legislators
Make a Phone Call
It’s easy — find your state representative and senator and their contact info using the resource list on this page. Call their district office and/or their Capitol office. You’ll speak to an office staffer. Tell them you’re a constituent. Tell them what issue interests you and why. Ask what your legislator plans to do to promote the issue.
Visit the Capitol — or your local district office!
When you call, ask for an appointment with your legislator (or alternatively, their chief of staff or legislative director). Or just drop by their district or Capitol office during regular business hours — leave your card or a note with the staffer.