Tyranny of the majority is the achilles heal of democracy and its ever present threat is the very reason for the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, this is as true in Texas as it is anywhere in the United States, and possibly more pertinent given the decades long one party rule our state has endured.
Perhaps no issue in our modern history has been demagogued more distastefully by the majority than that of LGBT rights, but the latest attempts by members of the state legislature move from institutionalizing inequality to usurping local control, a supposed conservative value.
Two bills have been filed and a third is on the way that would allow the state to subjugate local non-discrimination ordinances passed by municipalities including Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and most recently Plano.
Lone Star Q reported that in Plano the city council had been discussing the issue for about a decade but the City Manager Bruce Glasscock said he believes the changes, “are reflective of the values of Plano as a diverse, inclusive community that values and respects the rights of all of our citizens.“
Apparently a decade was not long enough for incoming Attorney General Ken Paxton who wrote the mayor and city council members urging them to table the proposed ordinance, “We do not believe there has been adequate time for the public and community leaders to be a part of the discussion of such a major, wide sweeping change in law and policy for Plano.”
The city had to also fight misinformation being spread by anti-LGBT groups like “Texas Values” about nature of the ordinance including that it, “potentially will allow transgender persons to demand access to the bathroom of their choice.” That’s not true since there was an exception built into the ordinance.
The City of Austin has tackled a similar issue and misinformation this summer when it became the first major city to support making single occupancy restrooms gender neutral.
The other main excuse being used to promote active discrimination against the LGBT community is that somehow limits religious freedom, which Plano City Attorney Paige Mims referred to as “legal fiction.” Preventing discrimination would not require someone to change their belief system but it could prevent them from denying services or employment strictly because someone is gay or transgender.
The authors of proposed bills State Representative Jason Villalba and Senator Donna Campbell said active discrimination is not their intent, but as with the case of Voter ID sometimes there are unintended consequences and entire communities can have their basic rights infringed upon do to the overzealousness of politicians.
Villalba told the Texas Observer that he is opposed to all discrimination including against the LGBT community but would not commit to supporting legislation that would protect them under the law. He says he is more concerned that his children’s, “religious liberty is not limited merely because they step foot into their public school or town square.”
That’s hard to imagine considering there is now a nativity scene displayed at the steps of the capitol this week in honor of the fight in the “war on Christmas.” It’s a war seemingly fought without a competitive foe that can leave its leaders looking more like tyrants of royalty than the pilgrims who escaped their treachery for religious liberty. Maybe the words of a founding father can bring perspective to the ruling class.
“If a majority are capable of preferring their own private interest, or that of their families, counties, and party, to that of the nation collectively, some provision must be made in the constitution, in favor of justice, to compel all to respect the common right, the public good, the universal law, in preference to all private and partial considerations.” – John Adams
Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.