Texas Legislature

Texas Legislators Fight Social Media Companies Canceling Conservative Speech

NBC 5 News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is working with State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) to introduce a bill that has Texans from multiple political parties talking.

The bill addresses what Texans can do when their online accounts are banned by social media companies like Facebook and Twitter.

According to the Texas Legislature, the bill would give Texans a way to get back online if a social media company bans or blocks their account based on their political or religious views.

According to Gov. Abbott, the bill aims to "prevent social media platforms from 'canceling conservative speech'."

As Abbott and Hughes seek to hold social media companies responsible for banning certain accounts, representatives from the other side of the aisle are pushing back.

The Libertarian Party of Texas said in a tweet Sunday that Abbott is "trying to force the baker to bake the cake," likening the legislation to the circumstances surrounding the 2018 Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In 2017, a bakery in Colorado refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on the bakery owner's religious beliefs.

The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which resulted in a lawsuit alleging that the bakery discriminated against the couple based on their sexuality.

The case made its way through the appeals process to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in a 7-2 decision that forcing the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop to bake the wedding cake for the couple violated his rights to free exercise.

The Libertarian Party of Texas's tweet draws a comparison between the circumstances surrounding Masterpiece Cakeshop and Abbott's bill regarding social media companies, suggesting that while the owner of the bakery could deny business to customers on religious grounds, Abbott's bill would prevent private social media companies from banning users based on their political or religious beliefs.

"Companies have every right to host speech they want to, and to not host speech they don't want to," the Libertarian Party of Texas said. "This is called freedom."

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