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Pro-Family Conservatives Attacked by Questionable “Family Project” Group

All Republican Legislators Voted for Bill Banning Child Gender Transitioning

During the regular legislative session earlier this year, Republican lawmakers united to pass Senate Bill 14 to prohibit gender transitioning and gender modification of children in Texas. This legislation was applauded by Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi in a recent fundraising letter in which he described Senate Bill 14, as well as other new conservative laws passed by the Texas House and Senate and signed by Governor Abbott, as being “probably the most sweeping conservative change ever passed in our Texas State Legislature.”

“As a result of action passed by the Texas State Legislature, doctors can no longer perform horrific “gender modification” procedures on children. Drag shows and other sexually explicit shows can no longer be performed in front of kids. And pornography has been banned and removed from school libraries,” wrote Rinaldi.

Opposed by most Democrats in the state legislature, Senate Bill 14 is currently being challenged in court by a group of litigants represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Despite Senate Bill 14’s comprehensive ban on child gender transitioning being praised by Rinaldi and a host of conservative organizations such as Texas Values, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and others, some Republican legislators who were instrumental in the passage of the bill have found themselves under attack by a group that purports to represent “family values.”

In text messages sent to voters in several state legislative districts across Texas last week, a group called the Texas Family Project alleged that certain Republican lawmakers targeted by the group “voted with Democrats to fund transgender social transitioning.” Despite the claim made in the text messages, all of the Republican lawmakers targeted by the Texas Family Project’s text messages voted for Senate Bill 14 to ban child gender transitioning. 

The basis for Texas Family Project’s claim appears to be an amendment offered by State Representative Tony Tinderholt to House Bill 1898. That legislation would have established a grant program for crisis mental health care at children’s hospitals. The bill contained no provisions related to gender transitioning or related subjects. 

Tinderholt’s proposed amendment to HB 1898 purported to prohibit grant funds from being used for “mental health services affirming the child’s perception of the child’s sex if that perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.” In addition to attempting to amend a bill that was unrelated to child gender transitioning, Tinderholt’s amendment was vague and worded in such a manner that would have jeopardized grant funds from being used in legitimate emergency mental health situations that the bill was intended to address. 

Even though Tinderholt’s proposed amendment to HB 1898 failed, he voted for the bill on final passage. As previously reported by The Texas VoiceTinderholt has a track record of filing bills and amendments that purport to have a conservative purpose but are poorly drafted and would have unintended consequences. For example, Tinderholt was the author of House Bill 2619, which he claimed would have combatted election fraud. However, that bill was drafted so that it would have exposed grassroots volunteers and candidates to possible financial penalties of $100,000 if they made a mistake on campaign finance paperwork. 

At least one lawmaker who is the subject of Texas Family Project’s attacks faces a primary opponent with a personal background that could raise concerns among family values advocates. 

State Representative Stephanie Klick, who chairs the Texas House Public Health committee and was a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 14, is facing a primary challenge from David Lowe. As chair of the Public Health Committee, Klick played a vital role in successfully passing the child gender modification ban. Despite her vocal support of legislation to ban child gender modification and other bills championed by family values advocates, Klick has found herself in the crosshairs of Texas Family Project’s attacks.

Lowe previously challenged Klick in the 2022 Republican Primary and has filed for a rematch against her next year. During his previous campaign, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Lowe owned numerous internet domain names that were sexually oriented. The law enforcement community also condemned Lowe’s ownership of the pornographic domain names during that campaign. 

“Profiting from economic speculation associated with the purchase of sexually explicit web-based domains, the kind often used as platforms for creating an environment that encourages human trafficking, underage prostitution and enslavement demonstrates extremely poor judgement in a candidate for the Texas legislature. The men and women who wear the badge, especially those engaged in the fight against online child predators, deserve legislators who are not seeking to profit from businesses that prey on the vulnerable. CLEAT strongly urges the citizens of HD 91 to reject the candidacy of David Lowe, and vote in support of Representative Stephanie Klick, who has been a strong supporter of Texas law enforcement officers and their families,” said Charley Wilkerson, Executive Director of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas. 

Brady Gray, the president of the Texas Family Project, previously worked as chief executive officer of the controversial political consulting firm Pale Horse Strategies. Gray also currently serves as County Chairman of the Parker County Republican Party. The Defend Texas Liberty PAC donated over $200,000 to Lowe’s 2022 Republican Primary campaign against Klick, making it the largest source of Lowe’s campaign funding. Former State Representative Jonathan Stickland, who owns Pale Horse Strategies, is closely associated with Defend Texas Liberty

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