Religious leaders hold joint press conference to oppose Texas’ bathroom bills

AUSTIN, TEXAS–High-level Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders from across the Lone Star State will convene at 10 a.m., Tuesday, August 1, on the South Steps of the Capitol to urge lawmakers to reject efforts to pass unnecessary and discriminatory “bathroom” legislation, including HB 46, HB 50 and SB 3 and SB 91. The speakers will issue statements – endorsed by nearly 2,000 clergy and faith community members – opposing the bills.

Contrary to claims that faith leaders support harmful “bathroom” bills, participants in the news conference will show that mainstream faith communities oppose the legislation and want lawmakers to focus on serious policy issues such as school finance.’

The news conference is part of a full day of faith-based activities sponsored by Texas Impact, the state’s oldest and largest interfaith advocacy network. The day also will include a worship service on the floor of the House of Representatives; advocacy training for hundreds of faith-based advocates, including clergy; and legislative visits. In conjunction with the events, Texas Impact will mount a display in the Capitol Extension highlighting opposition to bathroom bills from Texans in communities throughout the state. The display will run through August 7.

“Mainstream faith communities affirm the shared values of respect, dignity, and welcome for every person,” said Texas Impact Executive Director Bee Moorhead. “Discriminatory legislation that targets individuals based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity runs counter to Texan values.

We reject the fear-filled rhetoric and un-American endorsement of discrimination that underlie proposed “bathroom legislation.”

WHAT: Interfaith Leaders News Conference: “Mainstream, not Extreme:” Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Leaders Hold Joint Press Conference to Oppose Harmful and Discriminatory “Bathroom Bills”

We will also live stream the event at the following link: http://KeepTxOpen.org/Livestream

WHO: Bishop Erik Gronberg, Lutheran (Fort Worth)

Bishop Ray Tiemann, Lutheran (Seguin)

Bishop Joel Martinez, United Methodist (San Antonio)

General Presbyter Sallie Sampsell Watson, Presbyterian (San Antonio)

Mufti Mohamed-Umer Esmail, Muslim (Austin)

Rabbi Mara Nathan, Jewish (San Antonio)

Reverend Diane McGehee, United Methodist (Houston)

Reverend Dan DeLeon, United Church of Christ (College Station)

Reverend Griff Martin, Baptist (Austin)

Kimberly Shappley, Non-denominational & mother to transgender daughter (Houston)

WHEN: 10 a.m., Tuesday, August 1, 2017

WHERE: South Steps, Texas State Capitol

VISUALS: Interfaith leaders in religious garb; crowd with signs; display in Capitol Extension

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