Think Texas is pro-business? Legislature snubbed our business group
They put ideology before our 33,000 jobs and $1.7 trillion impact
Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, helped quash a resolution recognizing the economic contributions of LGBTQ+ businesses in Texas.(Bob Daemmrich / Bob Daemmrich/CapitolPressPhoto)
On Valentine’s Day, Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce, a coalition of the Austin, Greater Houston, North Texas and San Antonio LGBT Chambers of Commerce, gathered in Austin to meet with our elected officials.
Many business groups, advocacy groups and others organize Day at the Capitol events each session to engage with legislators and participate in the legislative process. These visits are often recognized with a resolution in the House, the Senate, or both. These resolutions memorialize, commemorate, congratulate or recognize individuals, organizations and local governments across our great state who work to make Texas a better place. They are ceremonial, not submitted to the governor for signing or filed with the secretary of state. They acknowledge citizens and organizations working to keep the Lone Star State prosperous, innovative, growing, and welcoming.
However, the Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce, its member businesses and communities were denied such a resolution. Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, tweeted a threat to oppose the resolution, and called it a “leftist attack on Valentine’s Day,” even though the resolution did not reference the day. Our sources at the Capitol tell us his hatred also infected the Senate, where a similar resolution was withdrawn.
As our members waited in the gallery, we witnessed several other chambers receiving formal resolutions. These chambers, which do remarkable work in their communities, absolutely deserved this recognition, as did the Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce. Later in the day, Rep. Slaton took a victory lap in another Twitter post.
“Great news! We killed this resolution!” he crowed.
The opposition to these resolutions is unacceptable, hateful and harmful not only LGBTQ+ Texans but also to our economy. The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce reports that LGBTQ-owned and certified businesses have added $1.7 trillion to the US economy. In addition, we have created more than 33,000 jobs. Diverse-owned businesses are a vital component of our state’s economy.
Slaton and the other legislators who opposed these ceremonial resolutions put themselves, their ideology and politics above the business owners sitting in the gallery, our more than 1,000 member companies across the state, and, quite frankly, the entire LGBTQ+ community. We deserve better.
We deserve the same dignity and respect afforded to other constituents. LGBTQ+ Texans should no longer be political punching bags for hateful elected officials. We will continue to stand up against the more than 75 anti-LGBTQ bills already filed this session.
Let’s not candy-coat what happened on Valentine’s Day. It hurt like hell. But the work of the Texas LGBTQ Chambers will continue. Our members are a critical part of our state and economy. We applaud our chamber members — from the smallest startups to the biggest brands — for being active in our state’s economy, government and culture. Their steadfast support fuels our commitment to our community and to the next generation of LGBTQ+ individuals and entrepreneurs.
Tony Vedda is president and chief executive of the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Tina Grider-Cannon is president and chief executive of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Tammi Wallace is co-founder, president and chief executive of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Jeff Ivey is board president of the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce. They wrote this for The Dallas Morning News.