Are you aware of the Texas Family Law Foundation Letter addressed to the Honorable Members of the Texas Legislature? Actually I am—have been for about seven months now. Your Texas State Representative and Texas State Senator should be aware of this letter too. It’s dated February 17th, 2015 from Jimmy Vaught, Chair, Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and Diana Friedman, President, Texas Family Law Foundation.
Gee, maybe this letter explains why House Calendars Committee stopped the ALAC bill at the eleventh hour of the 84th Lege.
The letter begins as follows:
“During the Texas Legislature’s last two Regular Sessions, bills have been filed to prohibit certain foreign or religious laws or court decisions from being applied in family law cases.
We want you to know that your colleagues who served in past Texas Legislatures have already given Texas family law judges the tools they need to protect Texans from laws and decisions of countries and cultures that may be abhorrent to our values. Attempts by other state’s legislatures to target a specific religion, or the enforcement of religiously-based agreements between family members, have been found unconstitutional and unworkable. You’ll be happy to know that, working with Texas family lawyers, prior Texas Legislatures have made such legislation unnecessary in Texas.”
The letter from the Texas Family Law Foundation doesn’t specifically mention SB531–colloquially known as the “American Law for American Courts” bill but it’s inferred—and the date of the letter does coincide with the first reading of SB531 on February 18th, 2015 according to the Texas Senate Journal.
You can read the letter here.alac.pdf
Back on May 31st I wrote this post where Act! for America Houston issued a news alert publicizing the failure of SB531 (ALAC) to receive enough votes to move the bill out of the House Calendars Committee before the May 24thdeadline, which meant the bill could not progress in the 84thLegislative Session.
Act! For America Houston wanted to know what happened at the eleventh hour.
“Why is it at the eleventh hour (literally), GOP Reps. Riddle and Harless adopted reasoning adversarial to our Lieutenant Governor, House Judiciary and Senate State Affairs committees, ten Governors, ten Lieutenant Governors, ten State Chambers and ten House Chambers of ten sister states. What expertise do they suddenly now possess that guide their new found reasoning?”
Gee—maybe the expertise Representatives Riddle and Harless suddenly possessed came from staff who brought this Texas Family Law Foundation letter (and perhaps other letters) to their attention?