TX Reform Clergy Oppose SB 3

August 11, 2017
Governor Greg Abbott
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
Speaker Joe Straus
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428

Dear Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Straus,

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

On behalf of the Texas member congregations of the Union for Reform Judaism, and additional progressive Jewish communities throughout our state, we write to express our strong opposition to Texas’ Senate Bill 3, House Bill 46 and House Bill 50. These pieces of legislation represent an assault on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender non-conforming (LGBTQ) community in Texas by allowing discrimination to occur unchecked.

SB 3 targets transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly youth in schools, by prohibiting them from using restrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity. Young Texans undergoing gender transition are at high risk for emotional abuse, bullying and harassment. We believe transgender youth need our support, protection, and love rather than ill-conceived vilification under the law.

Further, HB 46 and HB 50, which seek to prevent municipal and school board non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals, present an unacceptable limitation to the right of self-determination by local citizens. If thousands of voters in a city or school district believe, as we do, that the rights of LGBTQ students should be equal to those of other young Texans, those beliefs should be upheld by our elected officials.

The Jewish values and ethics that are deeply rooted in our faith and scripture implore us to demand equal treatment of all people, no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Torah teaches that all human beings are created “b’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image” (Genesis 1:27), and that we are to live in the ways of a God who is, “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth,” (Exodus 34:6).

These three bills reflect a continued preoccupation by a handful of elected officials to promote a culture of discrimination against LGBTQ people. They offer a false and morally reprehensible message contrary to the interests of Texans and the values of our great nation. All Texans deserve equality, compassion, freedom, and love, and we strongly urge you and the members of the Texas Legislature to halt the legislative process on SB 3, HB 46, and HB 50.


Adat Chaverim, Plano
Rabbi Ben Sternman
Beth Torah, Richardson
Rabbi Elana Zelony
Beth Yeshurun, Houston
Rabbi Daniel Horwitz
Congregation Beth Israel, Austin
Rabbi Samuel J. Rose,
Congregation Beth Israel, Houston
Rabbi David A. Lyon
Rabbi Adrienne P. Scott
Rabbi Joshua D. Herman
Rabbi Chase W. Foster
Cantor Star A. Trompeter
Houston Hillel
Rabbi Kenny Weiss
Shir Tikvah, Frisco
Rabbi Heidi Coretz
Temple Beth-El, San Antonio
Rabbi Mara S. Nathan
Temple Emanu-El of Dallas
Mike Sims, President
Rabbi David E. Stern
Rabbi Debra J. Robbins
Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen
Rabbi Daniel Utley
Rabbi Amy Ross
Cantor Vicky Glikin
Cantor Leslie Niren
Rabbi Seymour Rossel
Rabbi Andrew H. Terkel
Rabbi Nancy Kasten
Rabbi Michael Cohen
Rabbi Mike Comins
Temple Shalom, Dallas
Cantor Devorah Avery
Rabbi Andrew M. Paley

Cantor Sheri Allen, Arlington
Rabbi Aviva Berg
Rabbi Matthew Berger, The Woodlands
Cantor Julie Berlin
Theresa Hurt, Dallas
Rabbi Robin Damsky, Gary
Rabbi Barry Diamond
Rabbi Gideon Estes, Houston
Rabbi Stephen Fisch, Dallas
Rabbi Hillel Katzir
Rabbi Claudio J. Kogan, McAllen
Rabbi Susan E. Lippe, Austin
Rabbi Emeritus Ralph Mecklenburger
Rabbi Jordan Parr, Midland
Rabbi Marina Yergin

Union For Reform Judaism
Central Conference of American Rabbis