By now you’re probably aware of the anti-gay Texas House budget amendment authored by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, which would require schools with LGBT resource centers to spend an equal amount, dollar for dollar, on centers promoting “family and traditional values.”
Like seemingly most things these days, Christian’s amendment has led to a petition at Change.org, which now has 146 signatures, calling for the Texas Senate and/or Gov. Rick Perry to reject it:
“This proposal does nothing to enhance the educational experience of Texas university students,” writes Mindy Townsend of Kansas, who started the petition. “It only serves to further marginalize LGBT people. Society is built to support straight people. We need LGBT resource centers to help fill in the gaps.”
We’ve got a message in to Christian’s office seeking further explanation of the amendment, such as how it jibes with teabagger principles of reduced spending and local control.
But for now, we wanted to note that Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, is listed as “present, not voting” in the House voting record for the amendment. Anchia’s vote, or lack thereof, prompted Instant Tea contributor Daniel Williams to write on his Legislative Queery blog that Anchia, a staunch LGBT ally, had “cowardly refuse[d] to take a stand on this issue.”
We sought an explanation from Anchia’s office, and here’s what we got from his chief of staff, Timothy Dickey:
“He [Anchia] said the PNV [present, not voting] was basically just a, ‘This amendment’s stupid. I’m not even going to grace it with a yes or no,'” Dickey said. “It’s a ridiculous amendment, and that’s what the PNV was. … We’re going to try to talk him out of doing that in the future. A ‘No’ is stronger than a PNV.”
Williams has also posted a scorecard showing how other members of the House voted on Christian’s amendment, which passed 110-24, as well as a pro-equality budget amendment from Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston. Coleman’s amendment, which failed 97-49, would have required school districts to report incidents of harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
To Williams’ scorecard we’d like to add this list of House members who’ve signed on as co-sponsors of GOP Rep. Paul Workman’s resolution calling on President Barack Obama to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.
Note that the co-sponsors of Workman’s resolution include North Texas Republicans Jerry Madden and Van Taylor of Plano, Stefani Carter of Dallas, Cindy Burkett of Mesquite, Bill Zedler of Tarrant County, Phil King of Weatherford, and Linda “Mercedez Benz” Harper-Brown of Arlington.
As always, you can find contact info for all members of the Texas House by going here.