City Hall

Plano Lawmakers Aim to Kill Equal Rights Ordinances for LGBTQ People

Not content after losing a local battle against Plano's LGBTQ equal rights ordinance, a group of four local state representatives plan to introduce legislation that would nullify any municipal equal rights ordinances passed anywhere in the state, including Dallas' March 2014 ordinance.

See also: Plano Ignores Cries of Hometown Liberty Institute, Passes LGBT Equal Rights Ordinance

"There is legislation that's being worked on. Jeff Leach who's also a state representative, he actually, he and I represent the majority of Plano, he's actually leading an effort to nullify these types of ordinances statewide. There's actually four state representatives that represent Plano, all of us will be joint authors of that legislation, but Representative Leach will actually lead that effort," state Representative Matt Shaheen told a group of pastors gathered at Prestonwood Baptist Church in mid-December in a recording obtained by the Texas Observer.

(At this point we want to take an aside to congratulate Toyota North America on its upcoming ceremonial groundbreaking for its new corporate headquarters in Plano. The event is Tuesday, and let's hope that North Texans of all stripes can let Toyota know just what sort of welcoming place their new home is.)

Now, back to the bigots.

Basically, the bill would ban cities from protecting classes of people not already protected by state or federal law, both of which don't currently cover LGBTQ people. Any existing protections -- such as the ones passed in Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio and Houston -- would be wiped off the books.

Texas Pastor Council executive director David Welch described the purpose of the proposed legislation to the Texas Observer.

"It should be a uniform standard statewide, and cities can't just arbitrarily create new classes that criminalize a whole segment of the majority of the population," Welch said. "It's just self-evident that they're going to try to do it city by city. We're dealing with a broad public policy that creates criminal punishments. That's a pretty serious issue, and when it's based on a special agenda by a small, tiny fragment of the population ... that's a legitimate need and reason for the state Legislature to act."

As things stand now, Tennessee is the only state that bans local LGBTQ-rights ordinances.

The proposed idiocy from the Plano lawmakers comes on the heels of Governor Greg Abbott's announcement last Thursday that he would fight the threat posed to Texas by cities, calling things like plastic bag bans and tree cutting restrictions "collectivism."

See also: Abbott Announces Intent to Target Big Cities, Keep Texas from Becoming "California-ized"

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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