AUSTIN, TEXAS — The current legislative session began with a heartbeat bill banning inanticide in the Lone Star State, and is now quickly succeeded by Senate Bill 17, expanding religious licensing exemptions to totally new professional categories.
The proposed legislation will simply prohibit state licensing agencies from adopting rules or policies that limit a professional’s free exercise of religion — including denying or revoking a license for actions taken according to a “sincerely held religious belief.”
Recently, a clerk in a neighboring Bible-belt state of Kentucky was jailed and illegally fined by the courts for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses; her 1st Amendment was made a “teachable moment.”
Sen. Perry’s bill is arguably an extension of the “Texas Privacy Act” passed last session, and is mirrored by the rulings and opinions given by Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton on the sanctity of marriage — specifically the right of state employees to deny gay couples marriage licenses on the basis of “sincerely held religious belief.”
“Living our faith does not stop when we start to work,” Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, the bill’s author, told the Senate State Affairs Committee during a hearing Monday.
Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, introduced companion legislation to Perry’s providing for that individuals may decline to participate in gay marriage ceremonies and refuse to provide goods or services to same-sex couples (cake, comes to mind.)
A dozen clergy members opposed the bill, , including Rabbi Nancy Kasten of Dallas, who said living according to religious beliefs “should never be confused with permission to use faith as a weapon against those who do not share those beliefs.”
John Stuart Mill — a widely referenced 18th Century English phiolosopher — once said, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.” That is the principle animating current legislative efforts to defend religious freedom.
SB 17 is one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top priorities reportedly, and the native Houstonian has a reputation for successful passage of values-based legislation, in spite of past opposition of state House leadership — which is likely to be nonexistent this session.
White Pill: Montana House Moves Constitutional Carry Bill Forward
Constitutional Carry is one ray of hope for the Right.
On January 20, 2021, the Montana House of Representatives passed Constitutional Carry legislation, HB102.
Weingarten provided some context to the significance of this bill’s progress:
The bill is the accumulation of a decade and a half of struggle against Democrat Governors, who have repeatedly vetoed reform legislation passed with large majorities in the legislature. Numerous sections in the bill show the Montana legislature has learned the lesson from other states as they restore the right to keep and bear arms.
Montana’s Senate is made up of 31 Republicans and 19 Democrats and Governor Greg Gianforte is a Republican, so the passage of this bill augurs well. If passed, HB102 would make Montana the 17th Constitutional Carry state.
Montana is already a very gun-friendly state, and represents a low-hanging fruit for Second Amendment activists to tap into.
Constitutional Carry has been one of the most successful movements on the Right over the past twenty years. It’s easy to complain about the corrupt status quo, but there are still plenty of ways right-wingers can score victories. Constitutional Carry is one of them.
It would behoove the Right to analyze existing trends and build off movements that are already producing results. There’s no need to embark on quixotic campaigns that end up being total fools’ errands. Find what’s already working and run with it.
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