A gay lawyer in Texas is taking a stand against antigay legislation introduced by his father — and calling on others to join him.
Houston attorney Beau Miller is the son of state Rep. Rick Miller, who last week introduced a bill that would prevent Texas cities and counties from enacting or enforcing LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances. It would nullify such laws that exist in Texas cities including Houston (where a court challenge is ongoing), Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, notes The Texas Observer.
Beau Miller told the Observer he was disappointed by his father’s bill and went on to publish a Facebook post urging others to campaign against the legislation. “While I love my dad very much, I am extremely disappointed by his actions and will do everything I can to prevent that bill, or any such legislation, from becoming law,” he wrote.
“I have been in fairly intense talks with my dad and his office about this issue. Although I am hopeful that I can persuade him to agree to not pursue this bill’s advancement, that outcome is far from certain. If anyone would like to help in this effort, I suggest writing to him about yours or a friend’s experience with discrimination and how it felt. To that end, and with full recognition of the deep emotions at play, please do not match hate with hate, or engage in name calling or insults. It does not help. Those type of communications tend to do more harm than good.”
He added, “This is also a time to reflect on the fact that while marriage equality is in sight, the fight for justice and civil rights for all is far from over. It is at these times we should all remember Martin Niemöller’s poem: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Niemöller was a German Protestant clergyman who spoke out against Adolf Hitler and was eventually sent to a concentration camp.
Rick Miller’s bill does not specifically mention sexual orientation or gender identity, but it says that “a county, municipality, or political subdivision may not adopt or enforce a law that creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in the laws of this state” — and Texas law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
He told the Observer he introduced the bill because “competing and inconsistent local ordinances interfere with economic liberty and discourage business expansion.” Private businesses, he added, would still be free to adopt whatever antidiscrimination policy they please.
Arkansas recently passed a law similar to the one Miller proposes, and it goes into effect this summer. Tennessee enacted such a law a few years ago. Colorado’s Amendment 2, a voter-approved 1992 initiative, also sought to ban local LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances, but a lawsuit kept it from going into effect, and it was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996.