Metro Weekly

“We Pledge Texas” campaign will highlight Texans’ opposition to anti-LGBTQ discrimination

Campaign will enlist, and publicly share names of, center-right Texans opposed to anti-LGBTQ laws or policies

Photo: Zscout370, via Wikimedia.

Log Cabin Republicans is launching a new campaign to highlight opposition to anti-LGBTQ discrimination in Texas.

The Liberty Education Forum (LEF), the educational arm of the Log Cabin Republicans, designed the “We Pledge Texas” campaign to show that not all Texans support measures that target the LGBTQ community.

As part of the campaign, LEF will be asking Texans who play a prominent role in their communities to take a pledge stating: “I oppose any and all discrimination, including discrimination against the LGBT community.”

“In addition to sharing stories of everyday Texans, the goal of this project is to gain signatories who are prominent members of center-right communities in the state of Texas, as well as everyday Texans, standing up against LGBT discrimination,” says Gregory T. Angelo, president of Liberty Education Forum.

In recent years, Texas has been in the headlines due to lawmakers introducing several measures targeting the LGBTQ community for discrimination, including a “bathroom bill” that would have policed transgender people’s use of public restrooms, which conservative lawmakers attempted to force through last session.

Senate Republicans, led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, have been the most rabid when it come to promoting anti-LGBTQ legislation, while Speaker Joe Straus, who is retiring in 2018, has been a more moderate and calming influence in the legislature.

It was Straus who effectively halted a sweeping version of bathroom bill that would have gone so far as to repeal existing LGBTQ protections in place in different municipalities throughout the state.

As a result, Straus was recently censured by the Texas State Republican Executive Committee for thwarting the GOP’s legislative priorities, which were endorsed not only by Patrick but by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Against that backdrop, Liberty Education Forum is trying to start a grassroots movement to introduce everyday Texans to members of the LGBTQ community and educate them about the discrimination that LGBTQ Texans may face.

“This campaign is about starting a long-overdue conversation between Texans about the discrimination that members of the LGBT community, specifically in the Lone Star State, face the potential of encountering every day,” Angelo says. ” Getting Texans who are able to stand up and comfortably declare that they stand against discrimination in all forms, including [against] the LBGT community, is the first step in igniting that conversation.”

In some ways, Angelo says, LEF’s campaign, which focuses on enlisting individuals, will complement efforts already being undertaken by the organization Texas Competes, which is rallying support from businesses to oppose any legislation that targets LGBTQ people for discrimination.

The “We Pledge Texas” campaign will include communication initiatives, live events where people can print out and sign hard copies of the pledge, phone banking, and canvassing as field organizers collect names of supporters. To assist with these duties, LEF will be hiring two individuals with organizational experience and strong ties to the center-right community in Texas as chief field organizers. LEF expects to release the names of those field organizers in the coming weeks.

“The whole purpose of this project is not just about getting people to add their names to a list that no one will ever see or that will only be shared with individuals behind closed doors,” says Angelo. “It is about getting people who are willing to publicly sign onto this pledge, and publicly declare their support for this initiative.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com