by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 14, 2017
The president of the American Association of Law Libraries has sent a letter to various government and chambers of commerce officials throughout Texas to tell of its intent to boycott the state for all future events over a new law and a pending bill: HB 3859, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in June, which allows child-welfare agencies that receive taxpayer money to deny certain people the opportunity to adopt or foster children by claiming religious objections, essentially to target LGBTQ, single or non-Christian parents; and the "bathroom bill" under consideration during the state's special legislative session, which begins Tuesday, July 18 and will last up to 30 days, which would require people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth, which targets transgender people.
AALL president Ronald E. Wheeler Jr.'s letter reads:
We are writing to inform you that, following our 110th American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting & Conference in Austin, Texas, from July 15-18, 2017, AALL will no longer host meetings in Texas due to recent moves by the legislature to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Recent meetings we have hosted in Texas include San Antonio in 2005 and 2014, and Austin in July 2017. We attract approximately 3,000 attendees to our meetings, providing an economic value to the cities we visit.
This year's legislative session ran too close to the date of our Austin meeting for us to cancel without significant financial repercussions, but we will hold no future meetings in Texas until the repeal or reversal of these discriminatory policies.
A commitment to diversity is one of AALL's core values. The recently signed bill to allow discrimination against LGBTQ families (HB 3859) and the pending antitransgender "bathroom bill" expected to be taken up during the legislature's special session directly harm LGBTQ people. We cannot stand by as Texas enacts legislation that discriminates against this vulnerable community.
AALL is proud to call many LGBTQ people members of our association. As president of AALL, I am personally acquainted with our progress on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. AALL is home to a Special Interest Section on Social Responsibilities, which includes an active Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
AALL believes that our association, and our nation, are strongest when all people, regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, disability, religion or national origin, come together and celebrate our differences. We urge you to work with the state legislature and Gov. Abbott to embrace people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and to reverse these discriminatory policies.