Once again, West Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) is at odds with his own party—this time, over high-profile religious liberty legislation known as the “Chick-fil-A” bill.
Despite pushback from Democrats and LGBTQ activists, Senate Bill 1978 by State. Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) passed the Senate Thursday with 19 yeas and 12 nays. All 19 votes for the bill were cast by Republicans, except for State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville). Seliger was the only Republican to vote against it.
SB 1978 protects Texans from government discrimination based on religious beliefs, an issue that’s become more alarming recently with the actions of local governments across the state.
The measure stems from San Antonio City Council’s decision in March to ban Chick-fil-A from the city’s airport due to the company’s beliefs on marriage and their donations to “radical” organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army. The council’s decision made national headlines and even sparked an investigation by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Wednesday’s Senate vote is one of many where Seliger has broken with his own party to vote with Democrats on high-profile issues, including his opposition to Republican-backed reforms related to property taxes, taxpayer-funded lobbying, red-light cameras, and social media censorship.
SB 1978 is currently on its way to the House Calendars Committee and is expected to be heard on the House floor next week. The last day of the 2019 legislative session is May 27.