Facebook CEO, tech leaders pressure Texas to scrap bill protecting Christian adoption agencies
May 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is joining Apple’s homosexual CEO Tim Cook and several other leading tech CEOs in urging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott not to sign “discriminatory” legislation — presumably any bill opposed by the LGBTQ lobby.
Gov. Abbott likely will sign one such bill, HB 3859, the Freedom to Serve Children Act, into law, according to its co-author, state Rep. James Frank. It would allow faith-based adoption and foster care organizations to receive government funding without fear of legal retribution for declining to place children in homosexual-led households (or due to other conscience objections).
That will lead to more people and organizations “free to serve children in the state of Texas,” Frank told the Daily Signal.
The tech CEOs’ letter is only the latest example of corporate America’s tightening alliance with the homosexual-bisexual-transgender-“queer” movement. The Texas Association for Business (TAB) has come out strongly against pro-family legislation in the state deemed anti-LGBT. Similar business opposition has helped defeat “religious freedom restoration” bills and laws opposed by LGBTQ activists in Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and other locales.
HB 3859 is backed by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Christian Life Commission of Texas Baptists and other pro-family and pro-life groups. It is opposed by ACLU of Texas and various homosexual-transgender lobby groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, which called the bill “abhorrent, targeting transgender youth in foster care.”
The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported May 22 that in Texas about 25 percent of the child welfare agencies are paid by the state “to place children with families are private foster care and adoption organizations. Many of those groups admit they don’t work with adoptive parents who are single, gay or non-Christian, and the bill could keep them from being sued.”
The Texas Senate passed HB 3859 by a 21-10 vote on May 22, with Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville the lone Democrat voting for the bill to defend conscience rights of religious organizations. The House passed it 94-51 on May 9, also along party lines.
South Dakota enacted a similar law protecting faith-based adoption agencies in March, and related bills are reportedly pending in Alabama and Oklahoma.
Catholic and religious adoption agencies closed themselves down in Boston, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco rather than be forced by the state to put children in homosexual-led households. Thus, they succumbed to the combination of “gay marriage” and “sexual nondiscrimination” laws that effectively mandate that child welfare agencies treat motherless or fatherless “LGBT” households the same as normal, mom-and-dad homes.
Main corporate Texas target: SB 6
The main target of the business lobby in Texas is SB 6, the Women’s Privacy Act, a bill designed to keep gender-confused (“transgender”) people from using opposite-sex restrooms and facilities in all public buildings, including schools.
After the regular legislative session ended May 29 without the House taking action on SB 6, Gov. Abbott said he would announce soon whether to call a special legislative session to get it passed. A watered-down version of SB 6 was passed in the House — through an amendment requiring schools to accommodate “transgender” students by creating single-user restrooms and locker rooms — but it went nowhere after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other conservatives criticized it as insufficient.
“I heard it reported as a compromise, but it really doesn’t do anything,” SB 6 supporter Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said, according to the Texas Tribune. “You have to have a separate [restroom] facility, but no one is required to go there.”
The Tribune reported, “Some school groups have said the amendment is open to interpretation on whether it actually keeps school districts from accommodating transgender students beyond single-occupancy bathrooms.”
The House version of SB 6, HB 2899, would nullify city laws that expand upon “nondiscrimination” criteria, e.g., by adding “gender identity” for “transgender” Texans. By requiring a two-thirds vote in each house of the state legislature for such LGBT “rights” ordinances to become law, it would effectively bar them. Leftist and LGBT groups denounced HB 2899, and social conservatives hammered Republican House Speaker Joe Straus for blocking the bill.
“Discrimination is wrong”
Zuckerberg’s and the other tech CEOs’ short, May 27 letter to Gov. Abbott has received wide media coverage, as critics of SB 6 say it will bring economic devastation to the booming state — a charge emphatically dismissed by Lt. Gov. Patrick and conservative groups like Texas Values. The CEOs’ letter does not specifically mention homosexuality or transgenderism, and reads:
“We are writing to express our steadfast opposition to the introduction and passage of any discriminatory legislation in Texas. Such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business.
“As large employers in the state, we are gravely concerned that any such legislation would deeply tarnish Texas' reputation as open and friendly to business and families. Our ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent, encourage new business relocations, expansions and investment, and maintain poor economic competitiveness would all be negatively affected.
“Discrimination is wrong and it has no place in Texas or anywhere in our country. Our perspective is grounded in our values and our long-held commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“We strongly urge you and the Texas legislature not to further pursue legislation of this kind.”
Joining Zuckerberg in signing the letter are CEOs of Amazon, IBM, Apple, Gearbox Software, Microsoft Corp., Celanese Corporations, Google, Salesforce, Cisco, GSD&M, Silicon Labs, Dell Technologies, and Hewlett-Packard.
Leading the national corporate CEO campaign against SB6 is Marc Benioff, CEO of the cloud computing company Salesforce, based in San Francisco. Benioff uses his Twitter feed to fight pro-family, conservative bills opposed by LGBTQ lobbyists, and he was instrumental in pressuring Indiana to neuter its “religious freedom” law.
In another tweet yesterday, Benioff thanked Dow Chemical for writing to Gov. Abbott urging him not to sign the “discriminatory, anti-business bills,” SB 6 and HB 2899.
“At Dow Chemical … an ongoing part of our work is ensuring that our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) colleagues enjoy their fundamental human right to be treated equally under the law,” said the letter by Earl Shipp, Dow’s VP for Gulf Coast Operations. “Bills like SB6 and HB 2899 are a problem for the business community, and negatively impacts [sic] Dow’s long-term growth, because these bills imply that Texas is a non-inclusive environment.”
Pastors oppose “transgender” chaos
Meanwhile, a solid coalition of Texas churches and pastors support SB 6 and HB 2899. More than 700 signed an “Open Letter” to Gov. Abbott and the state’s legislators, which read in part:
“Social, legal and political chaos ensue when a local ordinance creates special status for a fluid state of mind such as “gender identity” (which has now grown to 30 one categories in New York City) and attempts to legally place it equal to immutable characteristics such as race. This is compounded by different definitions, standards, penalties and enforcement from city to city, school to school. Imagine 254 counties, over 1,900 incorporated cities and over 1,000 Independent School Districts in Texas adopting different policy language, different enforcement mechanisms and different levels of punishment.
“That ominous reality is inevitable under the current process and will, in fact, do measurable, significant harm to the social and economic condition of Texas. Passing a law like SB 6 or its equivalent such as HB 2899 to create uniform protections across the state is the reasonable and responsible course of action.”
Corporate pressure campaigns helped kill a religious liberty bill in Arizona (vetoed by GOP Gov. Jan Brewer), and led to the evisceration of one in Indiana, which was replaced by a liberal, pro-LGBT version signed into law by then-Gov. Mick Pence.
In North Carolina, a massive corporate and media pressure campaign, including a boycott threat by the NCAA, led to the state’s “bathroom bill,” HB2, being modified in a liberal direction after the election of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.