Texas lawmakers at odds over resolution recognizing LGBTQ-owned businesses. Members of the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce urged DR Hanson to join them for their first-ever advocacy day at the Texas Capitol after he joined the organization last year. He didn’t hesitate in answering yes.
Hanson and his husband own Common Ground Games, a Texas-based game store. He claims that more than half of their 12 staff are LGBTQ. He regarded Tuesday’s advocacy day as an opportunity to advocate for their rights in front of a repressive legislative body.
When the Legislature put out 77 bills attacking my family and my community, it’s our responsibility and our privilege to advocate for them,” Hanson said Tuesday afternoon, referring to bills presented during the 2021 legislative session. However, his lobbying day at the Capitol on Tuesday swiftly turned sour.
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A Senate and House resolution to declare February 14 as Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day was never read aloud on the floor. In other words, politicians opted not to pursue it. “It was like a weird, passive-aggressive high school thing of, like, the popular girls turning their back on the unpopular girls,” Hanson explained. “And it was quite hurtful.”
The bill’s author, Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, D-Austin, said she opted not to move it forward after learning that “made aware that some senators would object to it.” Eckhardt’s office did not give the names of the lawmakers who stated their opposition to the proposal.
“While the Texas Senate routinely acknowledges business groups without issue, our very first LGBTQ chambers day in the Texas Senate does not receive the same reception,” Eckhardt remarked. The Senate approved two resolutions on Tuesday, one declaring February 14 as Montgomery County Day and another honoring Miss Texas 2022. The LGBTQ chamber resolution was similarly rejected by the House.
A tweet from the LGBT community about the hearing. You can see the tweet below
Yesterday's Day at the Capitol proved we have a long way to go. It is time to mobilize our LGBTQ+ & Ally business community. Read more. #texlege @businessisbusiness #LGBTBE #LGBTQBiz https://t.co/MfOLoU3D2T pic.twitter.com/t4Bjrrk2jd
— LGBT Chamber of Commerce (@lgbtchamberdfw) February 15, 2023
Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, tweeted early Tuesday that he would vote against any motion to suspend the rules and acknowledge the resolution honoring LGBTQ chambers of commerce. It was a “leftist attack on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
Slaton discussed his reasons for opposing the bill in a brief interview with The Texas Newsroom. “I have a conventional value for Valentine’s Day and marriage,” Slaton remarked. “And the entire LGBTQ agenda is Democrat policy.”
Businesses And Economy OF LGBTQ
LGBTQ-owned businesses and chambers have been around for a long time and have had a substantial impact on the state and national economies. LGBTQ businesses have produced over 33,000 jobs and contributed over $1.7 trillion to the US economy, according to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
They have also been successful in opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas, with only one of the more than 70 anti-LGBTQ proposals becoming law in 2021 as a result of their lobbying efforts. According to Don Mamone, an identity coach and diversity expert, being at the Capitol on Tuesday sparked a fire in them.
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“The purpose of today is, business is business, and Texas should be open for all,” they said. “Most of the folks here are small businesses … and if there’s a hindrance to our business, and if our community and our allies are marginalized or in any way treated poorly, we lose staffing, we lose workforce.”
Mamone is also a member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce in North Texas. They stated that they aimed to educate and open the hearts of some MPs. “That’s why we collectively move the needle forward,” Mamone explained.
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