Republican Texas State Senator Donna
Campbell on Monday proposed an amendment to the Texas Constitution
which could allow business owners to refuse to hire and/or serve gays
based on a “sincerely held religious belief.”
Campbell's Joint Resolution 10 would go
beyond the state's current Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA),
which prohibits the government from placing a “substantial burden”
on an individual's religious freedom. Campbell's proposal removes
the “substantial” requirement and exceptions for enforcement of
civil rights laws, according to Lone
unsuccessfully championed a similar measure two years ago.
Campbell's original proposal argued that it could be used by business
owners to claim a religious exception to nondiscrimination
ordinances, including Houston's recently enacted gay-inclusive
measure strongly opposed by Christian conservatives.
To take effect, the
proposal requires the approval of lawmakers and voters.