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On LGBT issues, the GOP should follow business

June 11, 2018

Star-Telegram,

Noelle Mandell,

May 31, 2018-

In Lupe Valdez, lesbian and former Dallas County Sheriff who officially claimed the Democratic nomination for Texas governor, the Texas Republican Party may find a reason to shift its opposition to LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender — rights. For the next six months leading up to election day, Democrats will likely try to paint Republican candidates as anti-LGBT in order to pull moderate voters to the polls to check the names that are followed by a “D.” After all, a majority of Texans agree that a “sincerely held religious belief” isn’t a legitimate excuse to discriminate.

Republicans in Texas have a storied past with LGBT issues. Two dozen discriminatory bills were introduced in the Texas state legislature last year, including one allowing adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples looking to adopt. That bill is now law. And last summer, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called legislators back to Austin for a special 30-day session to tackle some of his priorities — which included the infamous bathroom bill that the legislature had failed to pass weeks before.

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