Lawmakers consider bringing more ‘religious protections’ to Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After businesses and city governments began to boycott the State of Indiana for their religious protection law, business leaders around the country voiced opposition to similar laws. Texas already has laws similar to the one passed in Indiana, but other bills currently going through the legislature include a much broader constitutional amendment.

“Well, I mean it’s a cautionary tale for the Texas legislature,” Bill Hammond with the Texas Association of Business said of the backlash in Indiana. He doesn’t want anything getting in the way of Texas’s business friendly environment. “This is not what Texas is about. Texas is a welcoming state. We want new businesses to come. We want people to move here.”

Some conservative lawmakers look at the blow-back from Indiana as a left-leaning political movement and have filed bills at the state Capitol to defend traditional marriage beliefs of many Texans.

“We see again this political effort and in many cases, federal courts to pursue this agenda,” said Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia.

A staunch advocate of marriage between one man and one woman, Bell filed a “conscientious objector” bill that would put a law on the books to defend private citizens and government employees who refuse service based on religious beliefs. Bell admits he knows of nobody who has refused to do business with someone based on religion. Instead, he filed his bill in response to the growing effort to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

“That gets citizens in my district concerned that if that is the outcome here, we want to be in a position where we have a defense against those kind of overreach,” said Bell.

None of the religious protection bills filed at the state Capitol have received a public hearing, a mandatory step to a bill becoming law.

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