This is Texas state representative Matt Krause.
He’s a conservative Republican, and represents Fort Worth, Texas. He’s a lawyer by trade, and attended the evangelical Liberty University School of Law. Before his election to the Texas House Krause worked for Liberty Counsel, which the Southern Poverty Law Central has designated as an LGBT hate group.
And now, he’s the man currently working to put LGBT discrimination directly into the Texas Constitution.
Texas is already one of 21 states with Religious Freedom Restoration laws on the books. It states the government cannot “substantially burden” a person’s free exercise of religion unless it has a compelling interest. This is the highest legal standard possible for such a law.
In 2015, Krause authored a proposal to remove the word “substantially” from the Religious Freedom Act, and make the law a part of the state’s constitution. The plan was originally abandoned in the 2015 legislative session by Republican David Villaba, but Krause revived it. Time ran out that session, but Krause plans to reintroduce the proposal when the Texas legislature meets again in 2017.
Although it is only one word, removing “substantial” from the law could make a huge difference. Legal experts are already warning that the law would sanction LGBT discrimination, and could open the door to a score of unintended consequences.
These include domestic abusers using the law as a defense to criminal charges, medical professionals refusing to provide life-saving treatments based on their beliefs, and workers being fired for “violating” an employer’s faith. Sanford Levinson, a professor at University of Texas School of Law, explains:
“The word ‘substantial’ has some real meaning to it, and that dropping it means that you’re going to give any litigant the right to say, ‘I feel burdened,’ and that will be that.”
That would make it nearly impossible to challenge any discriminatory action in court. He went on to add:
“If that’s not what you’re out to do, then I’m not sure what the point of the amendment would be, because the state [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] seems to be quite strong, so why do we need this?”
Krause appears undeterred by the recent backlash against his hateful anti-LGBT measures. The Texas Association of Business has already spoken out against such amendments, and the barren business wasteland that North Carolina is becoming appears not to affect his resolve.
Krause’s Facebook page claims he’s “Carrying the Torch of Liberty to Austin!” It seems the liberty won’t apply to LGBT Texans.
Featured image via Facebook.