Last week, Texas became the latest devotee of the Trump administration’s fascist agenda of hate and discrimination. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott officially sanctioned widespread gender, religious, and racial discrimination by signing Texas HB 3859 into law. The bill is just one of many attempts by Texas lawmakers to legalize bigotry during the current legislative session.
The new law allows child adoption, foster, and welfare agencies to now refuse services to any family because of practically any objection to the parents’ gender identity, sexual orientation, faith, and — in a revival of 1950’s style misogyny — whether one parent has been divorced. (Our guess is that this provision will apply only to prospective mothers). However, HB 3859 does not stop with the adults. It specifically allows for the denial of services to children in need as well.
Our question is this: What kind of monster do you have to be to get elected in Texas? In any other civilized nation, state, territory, or jurisdiction, the welfare of children is one of the paramount standards by which people judge leaders and governments.
Around the globe, NGOs and human rights observers focus their attentions on children more than any other segment of the population. Child workers in China earn worldwide support and spur product boycotts. Starving children in Africa receive needed food and clothing from benevolent nations and donors. In America, lost, homeless, and exploited children have a variety of agencies to turn to for help, because people care about children everywhere….
Texas’ newly enacted law and the governor’s ignorance are prime examples of legislating through hate and discrimination instead of relying on empirical data and evidence-based practices. They demonstrate the fast receding fundamental value of personal choice in America and the rising intrusion of the state and its (not the people’s) representatives.
America’s legislators have lost sight of their fundamental purpose as elected bodies. It is not to enact laws based on personal faith and beliefs, but to create the intelligent framework that allows for the growth of a civilized society. There is nothing civilized about attacking innocent, needy, and uncared for children. Additionally, there is nothing intelligent about ignoring studies that confirm LGBTQ-parent families are as nurturing as straight couples.
It should not matter that two adults are LGBTQ, interfaith, mixed race, or divorced. The only concern of child adoption and welfare agencies should be if the parent applicants could provide a stable, loving, supportive, and financially secure home. That the state of Texas would deny children a safe home rather than recognize the changing demographics of society is purely a result of the forced imposition of conservative Christian values on entire population.
The strongest and most democratic leaders in America are those who vote for the laws that may go against their personal beliefs, but will provide the most good for the most people. In this case, those people are innocent children. Texas lawmakers and representatives everywhere need to be reminded that being elected to a state or federal office does not bestow the right to enforce personally held beliefs on citizens. The very imposition of personal standards on other’s freedoms is practically the sole reason for America’s foundation and our ancestors’ desire to escape from tyrannical rule — from the 17th century through today.
Under the new law enacted by Gov. Abbott, what will Texas officials do the next time the state raids a compound like the Branch Davidians or Warren Jeffs’ polygamist farm? Based on what the new law advocates, it is likely that the Texas agencies responsible for parenting and housing orphaned children may refuse based simply on an agency’s distaste for the children’s backgrounds.
The law presents a new human rights crisis in Texas that borders on criminality by endangering the welfare of children. While the state has a storied history of independent political ideology and resistance to encroachment of any kind, Texas lawmakers have chosen Washington’s fascism over the state’s most vulnerable citizens. While children across Texas suffer, HB 3859 belies the old adage: not everything is bigger in Texas — especially caring hearts and intelligent minds.