In a majority vote on Wednesday, the Texas Senate passed the so-called 'Save Chick-Fil-A' bill that would keep the state from penalizing people or companies for donations or membership to religious organizations.

Senate bill 1978, authored by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, is intended to prevent the state from holding religious affiliation against citizens and companies, such as preventing a Chick-Fil-A from opening in the San Antonio airport due to its history of donating to anti-LGBTQ Christian organizations, allowing the Attorney General to take legal action against such situations. Opponents of the bill are accusing the measure of attempting to tie the hands of local governments to respond to acts of discrimination.

After three hours of debate, the bill was passed by a 19-12 vote, with one democrat and one republican breaking with party lines to vote for and against the bill, respectively. The bill will have to be passed by one more vote before it can be taken on by the House for further debate.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Sen. José Menéndez expressed his concern to his fellow senators that this bill would ultimately go to protect hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church and others using their faith as an excuse to discriminate against people based on gender identity or sexual orientation,

These are the groups that we worry about getting protection in your bill. These are the people who openly espouse their hatred for our citizens.

However, Sen. Hughes said the concerns were not justified and this bill is simply protecting First Amendment rights,

Much has been said about this bill. I think you'll find this is a reasonable response, this is a legitimate approach to defending First Amendment speech.

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