Houston, We Have A Problem

Prologue: I would like to take a moment to say happy early Veterans Day and to thank our veterans for their service. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten.

Disclaimer: This article is satirical. Just thought I should mention that. Also, this is not intended to single Texas out or disparage all Texans. These criticisms can be levied against many other states, including Georgia, where I have lived all my life. And many Texans are wonderful, fair minded people.

A majority in Houston, Texas has voted down an anti-discrimination ordinance, HERO, for LGBT Houstonians. People who voted against the ordinance are taking a lot of flack from LGBT rights activists, but I think their motivations have been misunderstood. In fact, I think that voting down HERO was the right decision. Why? Because the bill was a classic example of excessive government. It’s wrong for big government to tell businesses that they can’t discriminate against gay or transgender people. Now sure, Texas has used big government in the past. Texans asked the feds to make sure runaway slaves who escaped from Texas to the North were returned. And in their state declaration of secession on the eve of the Civil War, Texas secessionists ranted that Northern states were not complying with the federal government to extradite runaway slaves. And sure, the state government banned interracial marriage and had to be forced by the Supreme Court to allow it in 1967. Oh, and there were all those laws forcing schools and businesses to be segregated. For example, if a railroad company wanted to have integrated railroad cars, well, the state government said they couldn’t. Okay, okay, there was also that one law about how blacks and whites couldn’t wrestle or box against each other. And, in the interest of being honest, it is technically accurate that in the 1950s, married women in Texas still needed their husbands’ permission to file lawsuits, take out bank loans, sign contracts, start their own businesses or, sometimes, write checks. But that was all a long time ago. Since then, Texas has displayed a firm commitment to small government. Hey, in 1970, Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough was one of just three Senators from former Confederate states who voted to end the military draft. Please pay no attention to the fact that he was voted out and replaced with Lloyd Bentsen, who proceeded to support the draft. And Texas’s taxpayer funded schools are generally bastions of libertarianism. Except for certain teachers who work as government employees sometimes asserting their authority by hitting students as a punishment or trying to force them to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance. But we have to look at the bigger picture. Yes folks, Texas has a firm commitment to giving citizens the freedom to live their lives the way they see fit. Now there are caveats. If you get caught with 2.1 ounces of marijuana, you could spend twenty years behind bars. And there was this incident where Texas got taken to the Supreme Court because of a state law against flag desecration. But in fairness, what better way to show a belief in small government than by legally mandating respect for objects with the federal government’s logo on them? And if you want to get technical, there was this other Supreme Court case where the state got sued over the fact that it had a ban on homosexuality. And the governor at the time, Rick Perry, did kind of support this law. And since we’re talking about isolated exceptions to Texas’s generally rock solid belief in small government, the Lone Star Star admittedly did ban same-sex marriage until a federal court intervened. If someone was looking to unfairly criticize Texas, they could say there was a pattern here. But like I said, these are all isolated incidents, strong exceptions to the general rule. One of the only other exceptions I can think of is that Texas allows the government to execute people left and right, banking on the fact that while government is often corrupt and incompetent, there’s no reason we can’t trust it not to accidentally execute an innocent person. But, I mean, Texas has no income tax. And that’s really the be all and end all when it comes to proving a commitment to limited government. So it should be very obvious that the recent vote rejecting anti-discrimination legislation in Houston had nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of bigotry against LGBT people. It’s all about distrust of government.

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