2 RGV state reps vote no on resolution recognizing state LGBTQ+ coalition

The Texas State Capitol is seen in this undated photo. (Courtesy: Texas State Capitol/Facebook)

Texas is always open for business and there are many LGBTQ+ business owners in the lower RGV that positively contribute to our community.

Two Republican Rio Grande Valley state representatives voted no on a resolution seeking to recognize Feb. 14, 2023, as Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day at the State Capitol.

State Reps. Ryan Guillen, whose district includes Starr County, and Janie Lopez, whose district includes the counties of Cameron and Willacy, both voted no on the resolution, according to the record vote.

A total of 54 members of the Texas House voted no.

Authored by state Rep. Mary E. González, who represents El Paso, the resolution seeks to recognize LGBTQ+ organizations from across the state who joined together to form a statewide coalition made up of more than 1,000 LGBTQ+-owned and allied businesses.

Those organizations include the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

“Having originally joined forces to combat discrimination and promote equality, inclusion, and economic vitality across Texas, the chambers are also pursuing a legislative agenda that includes support for economic development and the promotion of tourism, for comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that makes Texas a competitive, business-friendly state, for increased funding for public schools, and for improvements to the state’s health care system and its public safety and transportation policies,” the resolution read.

“In addition, the group advocates for racial equity in all sectors of the state, including education, employment, health care, and criminal justice.”

Meanwhile, only three RGV state representatives voted yes on the resolution, according to the House’s journal entry for March 8. The following representatives appear to have voted yes: Erin Elizabeth Gámez, Armando Martinez and Sergio Muñoz Jr.

Erin Elizabeth Gámez

Some representatives didn’t vote at all. Reps. Oscar Longoria and Terry Canales were absent, and Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra was present but did not vote, according to the document.

“I voted yes because the chambers of commerce are wonderful economic incubators,” Gámez said in a statement. “Texas is always open for business and there are many LGBTQ+ business owners in the lower RGV that positively contribute to our community.”

While Guillen and Lopez haven’t commented on the resolution, the Republican Party of Texas wrote on Twitter on March 8 that they were opposed to the resolution because “it violates our core principles.”

“Not only does this resolution celebrate the LGBTQ lifestyle in violation of our beliefs on traditional marriage between a man and a woman, it also includes language that tramples on religious freedom, privacy and promotes CRT/DEI policies,” the party tweeted. “Why do Republicans support this?”

Efforts to obtain comment from the remaining representatives were not successful as of deadline.

To find a comprehensive list of bills filed — and the status of those bills — visit MyRGV.com and click the 88th Texas Legislative Session tab, which has an interactive spreadsheet and a comprehensive list of AIM Media Texas’ legislative coverage.