News Roundup: New Poling Data Shows Broad Support For Laws Protecting LGBTQ Rights

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelFebruary 4, 2019 8:42 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

New polling data shows a majority of Texans support laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in jobs and housing. The Public Religion Research Institute surveyed nearly 3,000 Texans.

Samantha Smoot, the interim director of the advocacy group, Equality Texas, says the data is exciting.

“For the first time ever it’s showing across every single major demographic group in Texas – including White evangelicals – majority support for laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender people from discrimination.”

The survey also found that 57 percent of Texans oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse to provide products or services to LGBTQ people, even if it violates their religious beliefs.

Smoot says her group plans to share this data with state lawmakers.

“It’s important that lawmakers see that equality is a mainstream value and on the one hand, laws have been filed that would create special rights for certain classes of Texans and legally protect discrimination,” Smoot says. “On the other hand though, bills have been filed that provide exactly the kind of protections that this polling shows a majority of Texans support.”

This year the Texas Legislature has its first-ever LGBTQ caucus, which is holding a press conference early next week.

Lawyers for immigrants held at an El Paso detention facility say their clients are being force-fed amid a month-long hunger strike.

Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leanos Jr. has more on why the group of about 11 immigrants has been striking.

They’re refusing food and water to protest conditions at the facility. They also say facility officials have threatened to deport them.

Ruby Kaur is an immigration attorney based in Michigan and is representing two clients currently at the processing center. She says facility personnel used nasogastric tubes … which are feeding tubes through the nose.“It’s emotionally very tolling because at the end of the day they’re human beings, I’m a human being, and they want safety,” Kaur says.

Kaur says the detainees on the hunger strike are mostly from India and are seeking asylum. She hopes she can work with immigration officials to get her clients paroled or bonded out of immigration detention.

In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that quote the “ICE Health Services Corps (IHSC) is medically monitoring the detainees’ health and regularly updating ICE of their medical status. Efforts are being taken to protect the detainees’ health and privacy.”

ICE added that it “does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers.”

A movie is being shot in Abilene this week and they’re looking for extras. The local ABC affiliate, KTXS, reports at least 1,200 people have already signed up.

The feature film is called “Brother’s Keeper” and stars Lawrence Fishburne. It’s based on the true story of the 2009 Abilene High School football team, who defeated two-time defending champion Katy High School in their state championship game.

A director’s cut of the film will premiere in Abilene on March 30.