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'Ex-Gay' Republican Deceives Texas Lawmakers, Testifies In Support Of Anti-LGBT Bill


Earlier this week, a Texas House committee held a hearing on a so-called religious freedom bill that purportedly aims to prevent pastors from being forced to perform same-sex marriages. 

Critics of the bill say it's written so broadly that it could allow any religiously affiliated organization — from hospitals and universities to homeless shelters — to discriminate against gay couples. 

Most of those who testified in support of the bill were pastors brought in by the anti-LGBT Texas Pastor Council. But then there was also Jason Vaughn (shown above left, with Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton), who told the committee he's gay but supports the bill.

Here's part of Vaughn's testimony, from a transcript he later posted on a Texas GOP website:  

"I stand before you as a gay man in support of this bill, but the truth is that my sexuality shouldn't matter. Nor should anything else other than the fact that I'm a proud Texan with inalienable rights.

"Inalienable rights to live my life as I wish as long as I do not hinder the rights of others. That's what the gay rights movement has been about, at least until recently. Now it seems that folks are more interested in forcing others to take part in our lives. The actions of my community that have too often made up the news cycle are nothing more than hypocrisy. To say that we want the right to live as we wish while harassing companies like Chick-Fil-A, attacking Brendan Eich in California until he could not work, and even demanding that HGTV fire the Benham Brothers for their views on abortion and gay marriage is beyond the pale. ... 

"I'm sickened that we are at the point that pastors feel the need for this bill, but I urge you to support it."

One member of the committee, GOP Rep. Patricia Harless, asked Vaughn whether he agreed with one of the pastors who testified that disagreement is not the same as hatred or discrimination.

“I have friends from Jonathan Saenz to a gay communist stripper," Vaughn responded, referring to the leader of the anti-LGBT hate group Texas Values

Vaughn's line got a lot of laughs, and his testimony was apparently persuasive in the mind of at least one legislator. However, it was predicated on a complete lie.

As Vaughn himself admitted in another post on the same website earlier this month, he's not really gay. Rather, he's a self-described "celibate Christian homosexual" — which apparently is just another term for "ex-gay." From Vaughn's post titled, "As a Gay Man, The Hypocrisy of the LGBT Community Really Ticks Me Off":

For those that don’t know me, my name is Jason Vaughn and I am a celibate Christian homosexual. I don’t really know how to describe it as some say I shouldn’t associate myself as a gay man. I use it that way instead of “reformed homosexual” or “former homosexual” because I want to be clear that it is still a temptation I have to fight regularly and one I have failed at many times. ... 

Since coming out [as ex-gay] I’ve made a lot of friends that are either openly gay, secretly tempted with same sex attraction, or fighting for celibacy like me. Several young people have come to me and asked for advice on dealing with this. It’s not easy. I’m still tempted with same sex attraction and probably always will be. It doesn't get easier and the last year has been the hardest and most confusing. I’ve made plenty of mistakes sexually. I just continue to look to Christ daily and trust Him to keep me.

OK, here's the deal: If you want to futily attempt to repress your sexuality because you hate yourself, that's your call. But you don't get to ruin it for the rest of us by holding yourself out publicly as a member of the LGBT community. 

Given that Vaughn is living a lie, it isn't terribly surprising that he has no qualms about deceiving lawmakers into thinking he's an openly gay man. Wait, isn't there something in the Bible about bearing false witness?   

Texas GOP Lawmaker Wants To Ensure Taxpayer-Funded Adoption Agencies Can Discriminate Against Gay Couples


Rep. Scott Sanford (above) has introduced a measure — similar to a proposal in Florida — that would allow child welfare providers to discriminate based on "sincerely held religious beliefs." 

The Texas Observer reports: 

On Wednesday, Sanford told a House committee that in some states where same-sex marriage is legal, organizations such as Catholic Charities have shut down rather than comply with laws barring discrimination against gay couples.

“Faith-based organizations have played a vital role in serving our nation’s orphaned and needy children since America’s founding, and this legislation protects their operations,” Sanford said. “States without these protective measures have had organizations cease to operate, placing more demand on government.”

HB 3864, which Sanford is calling the “Hope for Orphans and Minors Expansion Act,” or HOME, would prohibit the state from taking “adverse action” against child welfare providers that receive taxpayer dollars and act based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.” It would also protect the rights of state-funded agencies to provide religious education to children and to deny them access to abortions or birth control.

Opponents of the bill say it would also allow discrimination against LGBT youth in foster care. For example, a faith-based agency could force them into reparative therapy.  

Ken-paxton_2_jpg_131x197_crop_q100A representative from the office of Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton (right) testified in support of the bill, saying that like bans on cell phone use while driving, nondiscrimination laws are an example of government overreach. One tea party lawmaker on the committee — Rep. Debbie Riddle — called the bill "fabulous" and repeatedly told supportive witnesses from Christian groups they were "doing the Lord's work." 

Meanwhile, in Florida, a similar proposal that died in the Senate last week has been resurrected and will be voted on Monday, according to Equality Florida.

The Human Rights Campaign and five leading national child welfare organizations issued a joint statement Thursday opposing the anti-LGBT adoption measures in Florida, Texas and other states. From HRC's release:  

Organizations that signed the statement, in addition to HRC Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, are the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association. ... 

“We, as organizations dedicated to serving the best interests and well-being of children and youth, are deeply concerned about the spate of anti-LGBT bills that have been introduced in state legislatures around the country this year,” the statement says, “including measures that would allow discrimination in adoption and foster care, criminalize transgender people who attempt to use restrooms, and, under the guise of religious liberty, give service providers the power to deny child welfare services to the very people who need our care the most.”

Finally, in related news, a Texas Democrat delivered impassioned remarks on the House floor this week in support of a separate proposal to allow same-sex parents to have both names on the birth certificates of adopted children.

Watch state Rep. Rafael Anchia's speech, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Texas GOP Lawmaker Wants To Ensure Taxpayer-Funded Adoption Agencies Can Discriminate Against Gay Couples" »

Over 100 Texas Organizations, Including 13 Fortune 500 Companies, Sign LGBT Equality Pledge


More than 100 corporations and other organizations — from American Airlines and Apple to the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee — have joined an impressive coalition of businesses pledging to support LGBT equality in Texas.

The coalition, called Texas Competes, launched Tuesday in Austin against the backdrop of 22 anti-LGBT bills in the state Legislature. 

From the Texas Competes website

Texas Competes' mission is to provide a unified voice for the Texas business community on the clear economic and business case for fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) workers, families, customers, and tourists. That unified voice takes the form of the Texas Competes pledge.

Many of Texas' most successful businesses have policies and workplace cultures that are inclusive and welcoming to LGBT workers and customers. But the competitiveness of these businesses, and of the Texas economy, is impacted by the brand that the state of Texas projects on the LGBT issue. The Texas Competes pledge creates an opportunity for business leaders to clarify their shared economic interests in fair treatment for gay and transgender people.

More from The Texas Observer:

Texas Competes spokesman James Shackelford said the coalition won’t take positions on specific legislation and that the effort has been in the works for months, long before anti-LGBT religious freedom laws in Indiana and Arkansas sparked historic backlash from the corporate sector.

“But obviously the timing, when it’s launching and when we’re going public with it, is important,” Shackelford told theObserver.

The Texas Association of Business, the state’s powerful chamber of commerce, has come out against two religious freedom amendments that critics say would enshrine a license to discriminate against LGBT people in the constitution. However, dozens of other measures also target LGBT rights, from statutory religious exemption bills to proposals that would ban local nondiscrimination protections and transgender restroom use.

“Texas is an economic powerhouse because it’s a place where talented people, entrepreneurs and companies want to call home. But our competitiveness is in jeopardy if Texas does not become a place that is welcoming to LGBT workers and families,” Texas Competes advisory board member and former Dell CFO Tom Meredith said in a statement. “Businesses that embrace diversity are doing both the right thing and the economically smart thing.”

Interestingly, several business not otherwise known as LGBT-friendly have joined the coalition, while others long considered corporate allies have not. 

For example, Texas-based MetroPCS, which joined the coalition, has a score of 0 on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. But AT&T, which hasn't joined the coalition, has a score of 100. (AT&T was also a major supporter of anti-gay Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's campaign last year).

Watch a report from KXAN-TV and check out the full list of organizations that have joined Texas Competes, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Over 100 Texas Organizations, Including 13 Fortune 500 Companies, Sign LGBT Equality Pledge " »

Austin Restaurant Turns Away Genderqueer Student In Women's Clothing: VIDEO


An Austin fast food restaurant is accused of anti-transgender discrimination for turning away a University of Texas student who identifies as genderqueer and was wearing women's clothing.

When Tyler Grant approached the Whataburger restaurant near the UT campus early Saturday, a security guard asked Grant to put on shoes. After Grant complied, the security guard said, "Wait, you're a dude?"

The security guard, an off-duty Texas Department of Public Safety officer, then summoned a manager, and they denied entry to grant. A video posted on Twitter shows part of the encounter. 

225px-Whataburger_logo.svgWhataburger, an uber-popular Texas-based chain, issued a statement saying Grant was turned away because the student's clothing was too revealing: 

"Whataburger is proud to serve all customers regardless of race, gender or orientation. This wasn't an issue of gender but of appropriate attire as this guest was dressed in lingerie. Again, we welcome everyone into our restaurants but our customers' experience is our top priority. We are reviewing these events with our team members and will take appropriate action if needed."

However, Grant maintains the incident was anti-trans discrimination.

"I really believe it was transphobia-driven and I don't think it had anything to do with what I was wearing," Grant told The San Antonio Express-News

In a Facebook post, Grant wrote, "I was wearing two inches of hip/butt pads, 2 pairs of dancers tights, and three pairs of nude panty hose. If it were see through then she would have seen my brightly colored underwear, which also covered up everything essential anyway, but you couldn't even see those."

Grant told The Daily Texan student newspaper that the outfit "was not anymore revealing than yoga pants." 

Austin has a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations.

Grant reportedly is considering legal options.  

Whataburger, which has more than 700 stores in 10 states, is privately held and not listed in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index.

Watch video from the incident here.  

Anti-LGBT Texas Lawmaker's Staff Says Meeting With Gay Constituent Would Be 'Waste Of Time'


An anti-LGBT Texas lawmaker's staff refused to meet with a gay constituent last month, saying it would be "a waste of time."  

Back in February, we told you how GOP state Rep. Molly White (shown above cutting anti-gay hate cakeposted an Islamophobic rant on Facebook during Muslim lobby day at the Texas Capitol. 

White's rant prompted Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT group, to drop off a gay Pride flag at her office, saying: "There are many flags that celebrate the diversity and unity of TX. We decided to help build Rep White's collection."

White.MollyShortly thereafter, White (right) filed two draconian anti-LGBT bills — one that would allow business owners to discriminate based on religious beliefs, and another seeking to exempt Texas from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. 

On March 27, during Equality Texas' Family Advocacy Day, gay constituent Frank Carlson was part of a group that went to White's office to try to meet with her staff, according to The Temple Daily Telegram. But Carlson said the group was told that no one was available to meet with them. 

When the group indicated they were from Equality Texas, White's chief of staff, Hannah Bell, told them to "drop their literature and leave." When Carlson said they had personal stories to share, including one from a PFLAG mother, Bell responded that it would be "a waste of time." According to the Daily Telegram, Bell confirmed the group's account. 

“I conveyed that the representative has stances on some issues and that she isn’t likely to change her mind on them,” Bell said. “We try to be a transparent office and I told them that they needed to meet with individuals that shared their viewpoint.”

Janet Adamski, a political science professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, told the Daily Telegram it's unusual for a lawmaker's staff to refuse to meet with constituents, regardless of their views. 

Chuck Smith, executive director of Equality Texas, called the action's of White's staff “rude, insensitive and inappropriate.”

“Rep. White was elected to represent all of her constituents, even those whose views she doesn’t share,” Smith told the newspaper. “It may not be her job to agree with all of her constituents, but it is her job to listen to them.”

As it turns out, on the very same day, White found time to attend an anti-gay rally at the Capitol featuring Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. 

Equality Texas has another lobby day scheduled Monday, so it will be interesting to see if any groups try to visit White's office. 

Anti-LGBT Texas Activist Likens Gays To Murderers, Compares Same-Sex Marriage To Holocaust: VIDEO


Last month we told you about a video in which Houston anti-LGBT activist Dr. Steve Hotze promoted a rally outside the Texas Capitol featuring Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  

BellOn Wednesday, Hotze took his message inside the state Capitol, where he testified in support of a bill from GOP Rep. Cecil Bell (right) that would prohibit state or local funds for being spent to issue or recognize same-sex marriage licenses. 

Hotze, president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, was among 15 anti-gay witnesses who testified during the hearing, joining the likes of Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz and Texas Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch

The Texas Observer reports: 

Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston), a member of the House Committee on State Affairs, grilled Hotze about whether he wants Texas to ignore “the law of the land” if the high court rules in favor of marriage equality.

“If you passed a law that we’re going to go and round up people of an ethnic group and put them into jail and exterminate them, would you abide by that law?” Hotze responded. “What did they do in Nazi Germany? It was legal to round up Jews and put them in the chambers and kill them. And the defense they said is, that was the law.”

After Turner suggested all people should be treated equally regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation, Hotze said there’s a difference because being gay is a choice.

“If people are involved in an activity that’s immoral and wrong, you can love them but you don’t respect what they do, and you try to help them find a way out,” Hotze said. “Whether they’re alcoholics, whether they’re murderers, whether they’re adulterers, whether they’re perverts or pornographers or whatever, you want to help them out—or homosexuals, you want to help them out.”

The bill, one of more than 20 anti-LGBT measures in Texas this year, was left pending after a two-hour hearing, and the committee chair told the Observer he's unsure whether he'll call it back up for a vote.

Watch a clip from Hotze's testimony, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Anti-LGBT Texas Activist Likens Gays To Murderers, Compares Same-Sex Marriage To Holocaust: VIDEO" »


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