Free Market Foundation Liberty Institute Texas Values, a far-right group from Plano that opposes separation of church and state and equal rights for gay families, has been caught — again — playing loose with the facts.
In a television interview on November 19, Jonathan Saenz — the lawyer/lobbyist who heads Texas Values — claimed that a proposed bill by state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, would lead all future birth certificates in Texas to drop the words “mother” and “father.” But on Friday PolitiFact Texas exposed that claim as a distortion of the truth.
The legislation, House Bill 201, actually refers to information on supplementary birth certificates — certificates used in adoption cases. The proposed change is designed to allow same-gender parents to list both of their names on the supplementary certificate for their adopted child. The PolitiFact story notes that under current law, one adoptive parent in a same-sex relationship “must choose to be designated as the father, in the case of a male couple, or the mother, in the case of a female couple, and the other parent is not listed on the resulting birth certificate.” That requirement has been in place since 1997. HB 201 would simply allow both parents to be listed on the supplementary certificate, regardless of gender.
But as PolitiFact reports, Saenz said this in his television interview:
“So if you wanted them, any parent wants them,” meaning birth certificates, “they’re not going to have ‘mother’ and ‘father’ on there. So this isn’t just about the homosexual lobby wanting their rights. It’s partly about that issue, but this change in the law would impact everyone’s birth certificates.”
After talking to Rep. Anchia, Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith, two lawyers who specialize in adoption cases and Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, PolitiFact Texas concludes otherwise:
“The proposal would eliminate a requirement that adoptive couples seeking a birth certificate list a male father and female mother. But nothing in the proposal explicitly removes mother and father entries on certificates and it seems reasonable to us that any needed tweaks could be made without Moms and Dads vanishing from them.”
We’re not surprised that Saenz got caught twisting the truth again — it’s a tactic he has used before. During the State Board of Education’s debate over social studies curriculum standards in 2009, for example, Saenz falsely claimed that teachers on the curriculum writing teams were engaged in a “war on Christmas” and wanted to censor discussion of that Christian holiday in schools. He has also falsely claimed that a sex education program under consideration in a Houston-area school district teaches students that “anal sex is responsible.” (He even bizarrely claims that comprehensive sex education is “drug-based sex education.”)
The truth shall set ye free, Jonathan — and sometimes it bites you in the butt.