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May 16, 2017 - National Latino Leaders Oppose Texas Anti-LGBTQ Legislation

May 16, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the nation's 45 leading Latino advocacy organizations, opposes legislative efforts in Texas to discriminate against the state’s LGBTQ population, which would negatively impact LGBTQ Latinos living in Texas who are already subject to various forms of discrimination, including the recently signed “Show me your papers” law, SB 4, which is expected to increase racial-profiling against Latinos by law enforcement.

The Texas state legislature is currently considering three pieces of anti-LGBTQ discriminatory legislation:

  • HB 3859/SB 892: A set of bills that would allow social service providers, including counselors and foster and adoption agencies, the ability to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and others, if they can claim the discrimination is based on a “sincerely held religious belief.” HB 3859 is expected to be voted on by the Texas State Senate this week.
  • SB 6/HB 2899: A set of bills that discriminate against transgender individuals, by banning their access to bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity or by banning protections for them in bathrooms, respectively. SB 6 was passed by the Texas State Senate and is now pending in the State House of Representatives.
  • SB 2095: A discriminatory bill that is intended to ban many transgender student-athletes from competing in high school sports competitions by barring them from participating if they use hormones that are legally prescribed to transgender people as part of their transitioning process. This bill was passed by the Texas State Senate and is now pending in the State House of Representatives.

“For LGBTQ Latinos who are already under attack from various anti-Latino and anti-immigrant federal and state policies, the efforts of state legislators to discriminate against people who are LGBTQ will further marginalize our LGBTQ Latino familia in Texas. The anti-LGBTQ bills being advanced in the Texas state legislature are not sincere attempts to address the real needs of Texans, but are instead efforts by politicians to make political gain at the expense of vulnerable populations. Bills that enshrine discrimination into state law are wrong and should be rejected,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

"For Texas, as for the nation, the successful path forward does not pass through a thicket of discriminatory and exclusionary laws," said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Vice Chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel. "Punishing children in need of families in the name of the politics of exclusion is immoral and inhumane."

“A civilized society treats all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, with dignity and respect. Legislation such as HB 3859, SB 6, and SB 2095 which would allow certain individuals to be bullied, stigmatized, and banned from having access to facilities should be rejected as inhumane and inconsistent with our values,” said Brad Veloz, Chair, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Texas Civil Rights Committee and David M. Pérez, Co-Chair of NHLA’s LGBTQ Task Force and LULAC Director of Development.

“Society succeeds when diversity is embraced, but the Texas state legislature is running in the opposite direction by considering anti-LGBTQ legislation. The bill expected to be voted on this week, HB 3859, is the latest example: it would narrow options for children to find caring homes by allowing for discrimination against potential LGBTQ foster and adoptive parents. For LGBTQ Latinos who are already feeling the sting of marginalization, this legislation would make matters worse,” said Arturo Vargas, Co-Chair of NHLA’s LGBTQ Task Force and Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund.

“The proposed Texas “license to discriminate” bills are among the most dangerous and extreme of the so-called “religious liberty” bills debated by state legislatures in recent years because of their nearly unlimited scope allowing discrimination against LGBTQ Latinx Texans. The ability of a paramedic to legally refuse treatment to a seriously injured transgender person, or a therapist refusing to treat a suicidal teen being bullied in school does not protect “religious freedom.” We call on the Texas state legislature to reject any proposed bills that would legalize discrimination against LGBTQ students, parents, workers, and families in Texas,” said Laura M. Esquivel, NHLA LGBTQ Task Force member and Director of National Advocacy, Hispanic Federation.

“We refuse to go back to exclusionary policies that ignore the blossoming of a diverse and stronger nation. These laws are outdated and anti-American,” said Juan Cartagena, NHLA Civil Rights Committee Co-Chair and President & General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF. 


| Michael Torra | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (202) 425-0582 |
| Brenda Arredondo | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | (915) 373-1483 |

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.

Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | Green Latinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | Latino Justice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Council of La Raza | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino

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