Texas GOPers want to ban reading about abortion — and give tax breaks to straight couples with kids

A new bill introduced in the Texas House would provide property tax cuts for couples who stay married and wants many children — but in order to qualify, they must be heterosexual, never divorced, and their children must be born or adopted after the date of their marriage. 

The bill, H.B. 2889, would give qualifying couples a 40 percent property tax reduction if they have four children, with every additional child increasing the tax break by 10 percent. However, LGBTQ+ couples, single or divorced parents, and blended families will not qualify for full benefits.

Couples with 10 or more children will not have to pay any property tax at all, and any couples meeting the requirements of the bill would get a 10 percent reduction before having any children. 

“Supporting Texas means supporting Texas families. Families are the building blocks of society. We must support families by making it easier for them to have and raise kids,” said Rep. Bryan Slaton, who introduced the bill.

“With HB 2889, Texas will start saying: “Get married, stay married, and be fruitful and multiply,'” he wrote on Twitter.

But as Rolling Stone notes, the bill would only support Texas families that are deemed “morally acceptable by the state’s Republican party.”

The bill defines a “qualifying child” as a “natural child of both spouses of a qualifying married couple born after the date on which the qualifying married couple married,” or an adopted child of one or both spouses, adopted after the couple was married.

A “qualifying married couple,” according to the bill’s language “means a man and a woman who are legally married to each other, neither of whom have ever been divorced.”

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This is not the first time Slaton, a former minister, has tried to impose an anti-LGBTQ+ policy in the state. The lawmaker has proposed banning minors from all drag performances and has tried to attach anti-LGBTQ+ amendments to seemingly random unrelated legislation, according to reporting from The New Republic.

His former intern, Jake Neidert, is a self-described Christian nationalist who has called for trans people to be “publicly executed,” and has continued to work as legislative director for Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Texas, another anti-LGBTQ+ ally of Slaton in the House.

Slaton cited laws implemented in Hungary and Poland that provide tax breaks to large families as motivation for drafting the bill. Fox News star Tucker Carlson heavily promoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s family policies on his show last year.

The bill could gain support considering both Texas’ House and Senate are under Republican control. Texas banned abortion in July 2022, after the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade was overturned. Texas has also implemented various laws penalizing women who attempt to get abortions and any medical providers who try to help them. The state’s infamous “bounty law” came before Roe was overturned, and incentivized Texans to sue anyone trying to assist someone getting an abortion.

Just last week, Texas Republicans introduced the Women and Child Safety Act, which would make it illegal for internet service providers (ISPs) to let users access information about how to get abortion pills. It would also criminalize creating, editing, or hosting a website helping people seek abortions.  

If the bill passes, ISPs will be required to block any websites “operated by or on behalf of an abortion provider or abortion fund,” and they would also be forced to filter websites helping people who “provide or aid or abet elective abortions,” including raising money for abortion funds.

“Right now, if this state law goes into effect, we’re stuck in a situation where we might see ISPs fighting in court saying they have a First Amendment right to host this content,” Evan Greer, director of the non-profit Fight for the Future, told Gizmodo.

“We really need lawmakers to wake up and understand that tech policy issues aren’t wonky concerns,” Greer told the outlet. “These are bread and butter mom and pop issues, and they have just as much of an impact on people’s reproductive rights as legislation moving for or against abortion access in general.”

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about the GOP abortion crusade