Religious Freedom Fight Targets Austin

First it was Houston, now a group of pastors are going after Austin's non-discrimination ordinance, and San Antonio could be next.

The U.S. Pastor Council is suing the city of Austin, trying to get exemptions to the non-discrimination ordinance.  Dave Welch with the group's Houston chapter says it violates their religious freedom.

“Every church should be free to hire clerical staff and positions of leadership that are consistent with their church doctrine and belief,and not be forced to violate those beliefs,” he says.

Employment law expert Holt Lackey says this could have ripple effects across the state since San Antonio has enacted a similar ordinance.

“This is an opening shot in a new battle of an ongoing fight about the intersection of religious liberty and non-discrimination law,” says Lackey.

It's likely to be a hot button issue when state lawmakers reconvene in January.

“Those constitutional rights are delineated at the state level and federal level, not the city level, and we must have consistency across the state which is why the Legislature should in fact take action on these local ordinances,” says Welch.

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