Lt. Governor wants religious liberty to be a priority

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick wants the Texas Legislature to better protect religious liberty by examining whether local anti-discrimination ordinances violate state and federal law.

A tea party favorite, Patrick oversees the state Senate. On Thursday, he unveiled issues he’d like emphasized before the next legislative session begins in January 2017.

Patrick wants senators to find ways to ensure the government doesn’t “force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Similar religious protection measures caused national outcry when they were approved in some other states, sparking fears they could promote discrimination.

Such proposals stalled in Texas last session, despite GOP-control of the Legislature.

Patrick hails from Houston, where a local anti-discrimination ordinance is up for voter approval next month. Opponents especially object to its sexual orientation protections. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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