An openly gay member of the Texas House derailed a bill backed by religious conservatives to block communities from taking “adverse actions” against Chick-Fil-A or other businesses.
State Rep. Julie Johnson (D) used a procedural maneuver to shut down the debate over the so-called Save Chick-Fil-A bill late Thursday, The Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.
“Hopefully, this is the day … discrimination against the LGBT community dies in Texas,” said Johnson, a freshman member.
The bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. Matt Krause to prohibit cities and other governmental entities from taking “adverse actions” against businesses that publicly espouse religious convictions. Advocates argued that the bill could be used to target LGBT groups.
The legislation came after the San Antonio City Council in March voted to ban the popular fast food chain from owning a new location inside the city’s airport.
Johnson, a longtime lawyer, quickly interrupted Krause on the House floor when he stood to explain his bill.
She presented a point of order and questioned whether all Texas House rules were followed throughout the bill’s development, the newspaper reported.
When her motion was struck down by Texas Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R), she questioned whether the official analysis of the bill’s implication was misleading.
The Caller Times noted that Bonnen huddled with the parliamentarians before ultimately deciding Johnson’s point, workshopped with the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, was valid.
The bill was effectively killed, since Thursday was the last day for preliminary passage of House bills before the 2019 legislation session is set to end on May 27, the newspaper noted.
Johnson was reportedly seen pumping her fist as she returned to her seat.
She celebrated the win on her Twitter account with a parody of a song from the “Wizard of Oz.”
“Ding dong! The bill is dead. Which old bill? The wicked bill. Ding dong! The wicked bill is dead!”
Ding dong! The bill is dead. Which old bill? The wicked bill. Ding dong! The wicked bill is dead! https://t.co/Zt3oDZaXx1
— Julie Johnson (@juliejohnsonTX) May 10, 2019
The victory was also hailed by LGBT advocates and her fellow Democrats online.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) May 10, 2019
Congrats to @juliejohnsonTX and the @txlgbtqcaucus for defeating #HB3172, a discriminatory bill that would have significantly stigmatized LGBTQ Texans across the state #txlege #RealSolutions pic.twitter.com/nXfZijUfPF
— Texas House Democratic Caucus (@TexasHDC) May 9, 2019
Proud of @juliejohnsonTX and the @txlgbtqcaucus for stopping the anti-LGBTQ bill that would have legalized discrimination and cost Texas billions of dollars in business. Once again, Texas does not stand for hate.
— Texas Democrats (@texasdemocrats) May 9, 2019
The San Antonio City Council cited the company’s anti-LGBT donations and history regarding the issue to ban the chicken restaurant from the airport.
CEO Dan Cathy has said the company supports the “biblical definition of the family unit” and the company’s charitable foundation has frequently donated to Christian groups that oppose same-sex marriage.
“San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we don’t have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” Councilman Roberto C. Treviño told the San Antonio Current at the time.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) opened an investigation into the city’s decision.
“The Constitution’s protection of religious liberty is somehow even better than Chick-fil-A’s chicken. Unfortunately, I have serious concerns that both are under assault at the San Antonio airport,” Paxton wrote in a letter to the city’s mayor and city council in March.
“I have directed my office to open an investigation into whether the city’s action violates state law,” he added.