Villalba Kills Religious Freedom Measure

Saying he is “re-examining” his religious liberty amendment to the Texas State Constitution (HJR 55), State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) is taking down the proposal just two days before Friday’s filing deadline after facing opposition from the Texas Association of Business. Legislators in support of the measure are scrambling to file their own version.

It’s unclear how the amendment would harm “job creators” as implied by TAB CEO, Bill Hammond, and alleged by Villalba on social media.

Liberal critics have alleged that the religious freedom measure would “undermine” cities that have imposed controversial ordinances like Houston and Plano.

Around the country, small businesses have been targeted by gay-rights for such things as not baking gay-marriage-themed wedding cakes and photography services.

Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case related to the business owners exercising their religious freedom to not be forced by ObamaCare into including certain types of abortion and birth control in their health plans.

Texas voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment ten years ago explicitly defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Texas law currently states that:

“All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion…” [Emphasis added]

The language in Villalba’s now-abandoned measure added:

“The state or a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state, including a department, agency, or instrumentality of the state or of a political subdivision of the state, may not burden in any way a person’s free exercise of religion…” [Emphasis added]

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Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg is the Vice President of Local affairs for Empower Texans and leads the Metroplex Bureau. He is a native North Texan, raised in Denton County. He studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and Constitutional history. Since 2008, Ross has been active in grassroots organizing, political campaigns and as an Irving ISD volunteer. He enjoys speaking to liberty-minded groups regarding the strategic effectiveness of state and local engagement. Ross is an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie.

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