There are three important bills going before the Texas House of Representatives this week. We encourage you to contact your representatives about these bills. If you don't know who your representative is, please visit Who Represents Me?, put in your address and look for your Texas State Representative. To find contact information for your representative, please visit Texas Tribune Directory and you can find their email address or phone number.

HB 71 Relating to the prosecution of the offense of indecency with a child.

I am a registered voter in your district and would like to ask you to support HB 71, authored by Rep. Gonzalez.

Currently under Texas law, it is legal for minors to engage in sexual relationships with somebody within three years of their own age... as long as the person is of the opposite sex. This law makes it a criminal act for a homosexual minor to engage in a sexual relationship.

HB 71, authored by Mary Gonzalez, would put an end to this unnecessary discrimination. This differential treatment of homosexual minors in Texas serves no secular purpose. The law is also likely unenforceable under the United States Supreme Court finding of Lawrence v. Texas, and as such is not only unnecessary but creates confusion within the legal code.

Removing this bigoted law from the books can serve as a gesture to the LGBTQ community in Texas, acknowledging that LGBTQ Texans are valuable members of our communities and will be treated equally under the law, as is required by Section 3 of the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Please support HB 71 as it comes to a vote on the House floor on Monday.

HB 3567 Relating to the rights of certain religious organizations and individuals relating to a marriage that violates a sincerely held religious belief.

I am a registered voter in your district and would like to ask you to oppose HB 3567, authored by Rep. Sanford.

This bill, especially in its current state, is too far reaching, specifically the portion that reads “... an organization supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization” combined with “… or treat any marriage as valid for any purpose if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief.”

I support the right of a church or religious organization from directly participating in a ceremony that contradicts their religious beliefs, but because of the portions of this bill quoted a moment ago, that is not the limit of what this bill would do.

For example, if a church runs a charter school, and that charter school extends health benefits to the spouse and families of their employees, could this charter school refuse to extend these same benefits to the spouse and family of a once-divorced employee, if the church that runs the charter school believes that re-marriage after their divorce is against the will of their god? Would this bill give the charter school this right to discriminate against this employee based on a previous divorce?

I respect the right of organizations such as churches to determine what they will or will not participate in, but in the example given above and many other potential instances, because of the portion of the law mentioned at the beginning, it is not the religious organization that is protected, but any organization “in connection” with a church. This bill would give freedom to discriminate far beyond the direct religious practices of a religious organization. Further, this bill would give special privileges to religious organizations not afforded to non-religious organizations, which is a violation of Section 3 of the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which guarantees that no person or group will be given special treatment over any other group.

I ask that you oppose this bill as it comes before the House for a vote on Tuesday.

HB 4105 Relating to the issuance, enforcement, and recognition of marriage licenses and declarations of informal marriage.

From our friends at Equality Texas:

Cecil Bell's HB 4105 is scheduled for a vote on the House floor next Tuesday, May 12th. Texas lawmakers appear determined to repeat the same mistakes of Indiana and Arkansas. HB 4105 attempts to subvert any future ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of the freedom to marry by prohibiting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state of Texas should not force county clerks to have to choose between following federal law or state law.

Pursuing a strategy to defy the U.S. Supreme Court will cost Texans millions in litigation and damage our economy.

We have to make sure every member of the House hears from us on this bill. Tell your lawmakers to stop the attack on Texas Families and VOTE "NO" on HB 4105.

Currently under Texas law, it is legal for minors to engage in sexual relationships with somebody within three years of their own age... as long as the person is of the opposite sex. This law makes it a criminal act for a homosexual minor to engage in a sexual relationship.

HB 71, authored by Mary Gonzalez, would put an end to this unnecessary discrimination. This differential treatment of homosexual minors in Texas serves no secular purpose. The law is also likely unenforceable under the United States Supreme Court finding of Lawrence v. Texas, and as such is not only unnecessary but creates confusion within the legal code.

Removing this bigoted law from the books can serve as a gesture to the LGBTQ community in Texas, acknowledging that LGBTQ Texans are valuable members of our communities and will be treated equally under the law, as is required by Section 3 of the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Please take action to encourage the Texas Legislature to put an end to this law. HB 71 has been approved favorably out of committee and it is now up to the Calendars committee to schedule a hearing and vote for the House floor. The Calendars committee is a gatekeeper for what is brought to the floor. Many good bills die at this stage, never being scheduled for a floor hearing. Please help by emailing the Calendars committee to let them know you want to see this bill move forward.

Example Letter

I am a registered voter in Texas and a member of Secular Texas. We would like to encourage the Calendars Committee to schedule HB 71 for a floor vote.

Under current Texas law, homosexual minors are treated differently than their heterosexual peers. This differential treatment of homosexual minors in Texas is an unnecessary discrimination and serves no secular purpose. The law is also likely unenforceable under the United States Supreme Court finding of Lawrence v. Texas, and as such is not only unnecessary but creates confusion within the legal code.

However, removing this law from the books can serve as a gesture to the LGBTQ community in Texas, acknowledging that LGBTQ Texans are valuable members of our communities and will be treated equally under the law, as is required by Section 3 of the Texas Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Contact the Texas House of Representatives Calendars Committee

Copy and paste the sample letter from above, make edits as you see fit, and push SEND to contact the Texas House of Representatives Calendars Committee.
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20 years ago this year, the Texas Legislature voted into law rules that have governed the teaching of sex education in Texas since. These rules require that abstinence-until-marriage be taught as the only safe and preferred sexual conduct of all Texans. There are no requirements that what is taught in sex education courses in Texas public schools be medically accurate, that the curriculum be proven effective at encouraging safe sexual behavior or that what is taught even be true.

In the twenty years that Texas has spent trying to convince our teens to “Just say NO!” to sex, Texas has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for teen sexual activity, the top 5 states for highest teen pregnancy rate, the highest rate in the nation for repeat teen pregnancies, and among the bottom 5 states for condom use by sexually active teens. In short, despite all the efforts of abstinence-until-marriage sex education, Texas has some of the most dangerous sexual behavior among teens in the entire nation.

There are two great Sex Education Reform bills before the Texas Legislature right now, SB 88 and HB 78. Bills that would require that the information provided in sex education courses be medically accurate, that the curriculum used be proven to encourage safe sexual behaviors, and would treat all Texas students, no matter their sexual orientation, as equals.

Without your support, these bills will never see the light of day. Please use the information below to call, write a letter or write an email to the Education committees in each house, letting them know that it is time for change, that young Texans deserve a real education, and that you want these sex education reform bills to be given a public hearing.

Remember to change the parts below in RED according to which house you are contacting.

Senate Committee on Education

Chair: Sen. Larry Taylor
Committee Director: Beth Shields

Call: (512) 463-0355

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

House Committee on Public Education

Chair: Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock
Committee Clerk: Ryan Marquess

Call: (512) 463-0804

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Example Letter or Statement

I am a Texas citizen and registered voter.

I would like to request that the Senate Education Committee bring SB 88 (Ellis - Relating to health education curriculum and instruction in public schools) / House Public Education Committee bring HB 78 (González - Relating to human sexuality education in public schools) for a public hearing.

2015 marks 20 years since Texas has required an abstinence-until-marriage approach to sex education in our public schools, teaching our teens to just say no to sex. For these 20 years Texas has consistently ranked in the top 10 states for highest teen sexual activity, the top 5 states for highest teen pregnancy rate, the highest rate in the nation for repeat teen pregnancies, and among the bottom 5 states for condom use by sexually active teens. In short, despite all the efforts of abstinence-until-marriage sex education, Texas has some of the most dangerous sexual behavior among teens in the entire nation.

Quite simply, our approach to sex education in Texas is failing our teens, and putting the future of our state at risk.

Peer-reviewed studies over the past few decades have shown that abstinence-plus sex education programs, unlike abstinence-until-marriage programs, actually affect teen sexual behavior, significantly decreasing sexual activity and pregnancy rates among teens. Results that could put our teens at less risk of the negative consequences of a teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

SB 88 has been assigned to the Senate Education committee / HB 78 has been assigned to the House Public Education committee. This bill would slightly modify the Texas code concerning sex education to morph our abstinence-until-marriage approach to sex education into an abstinence-plus approach to sex education, requiring that materials presented to our students be medically accurate and evidence based.

Young Texans deserve better than the sex education we are currently offering them. I want to encourage you to schedule SB 88 / HB 78 for a hearing before the Senate Education Committee / House Public Education Committee and to support the bill.

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