Texas Wins: Business Leaders Push Back Against Discrimination Efforts

With historic progress now being made toward the goal of marriage equality in the state of Texas, new initiatives are ready to take on a much larger, more complex fight.

The new campaign, called Texas Wins, is focused on stemming the tide of Anti-Equality populism that has taken over many state legislatures across the country.  Here’s more from their inaugural press release

AUSTIN, TX – A new multi-million dollar campaign, Texas Wins, kicked off today amid alarming efforts to openly promote – and expand – discrimination in the Lone Star State. Through business outreach, strategic communications, advertising, opposition research, and grassroots mobilization, the campaign will amplify the values of opportunity and fairness shared by a majority of Texans. Former George W. Bush media advisor Mark McKinnon will serve as chair of Texas Wins.

“All hardworking Texans should be able to put food on the table and a roof over their heads,” said Christina Canales Gorczynski, Texas Wins campaign director. “So it’s shocking that gay and transgender Texans can still be fired from their jobs or denied housing simply because of who they are. And, just as bad, such discriminatory policies are potentially expanding beyond the LGBT community to include veterans, single moms, people of faith, and many others. This is a can of worms we don’t want to open. Discrimination of any kind is not in line with Texas values.”

At the Capitol, aggressive efforts from Republican legislators are seeking to roll back municipal protections passed in many Texas major cities, like the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which seek to ban discrimination of all citizens including the LGBT population.

But within weeks of the launch of Texas Wins, the state received possibly its biggest win on the issue.  Here’s more on that from John Wright of the Texas Observer

The Texas Association of Business has come out against two religious freedom resolutions that critics say would enshrine a “license to discriminate” against LGBT people in the Texas Constitution.

TAB, which is the state’s powerful chamber of commerce, unanimously adopted a resolution last month opposing House Joint Resolution 55 and Senate Joint Resolution 10, by Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) and Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), respectively.

Chris Wallace, president of TAB, said more than 100 members of the board voted to add opposition to the resolutions to the group’s legislative agenda at a statewide meeting Feb. 17.

“We feel that this will certainly make our state look very much unwelcoming when it comes to business recruitment,” Wallace said of the resolutions. “We also have several businesses within the state, our large corporations for instance, that have diversity policies already in place, and what we’re hearing from them is they want their state to look the same way.”

[…]

In addition to LGBT issues, the chamber is concerned the resolutions would allow people to claim religious exemptions to criminal, tax, health and safety, environmental quality and zoning laws. Wallace said the resolutions would also lead to a spike in litigation, costing businesses and taxpayers.

No matter how severely Rep. Villalba and Sen. Campbell want their bills to pass, most wager it will be hard to do so without the support of the state’s most powerful business organization.  In all likelihood, TAB’s resolution moves HJR 55, SJR 10 and any legislation like it in the “no-go” category for this session.

One can’t be sure that the resolution by the Texas Association of Business and the launch of Texas Wins are directly related, but timing does seem to matter in these events.  As people hear of TAB’s decision not to support the bills, they also encounter the voices of prominent Texans like Billionaire Mark Cuban come out against discrimination.

Whatever the case, one thing is for sure… Texas definitely scored some wins this week.

Visit Texas Wins and the Texas Association of Business for more on those organizations, and Off the Kuff has more on the story.

Texas Wins

(photo credit:  Texas Wins twitter feed

 

 

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