Texas approves constitutional amendment barring state from limiting religious services

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Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that will prohibit the state from limiting religious services.

The move comes after lockdowns enforced amid the COVID-19 pandemic that included places of worship sparked controversy nationwide.

Proposition 3 was approved with more than 925,000 votes, according to the Texas Tribune, which is equivalent to 62 percent of the vote.

The amendment, which was passed during this year’s legislative session but required approval from voters to proceed, will forbid the state from limiting religious services, including gatherings that occur in churches and other houses of worship, according to the Tribune.

The topic of access to religious facilities arose during the pandemic, when a number of states enforced stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of the virus. Some of those measures affected places of worship, leading them to limit the number of congregants allowed to attend or shift the gatherings to a virtual setting overall.

Those measures angered a number of Republican officials, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Those opposed to the amendment argued that it would potentially stop the government from enforcing measures to protect individuals during future emergencies, including evacuations and public health crises, according to the Tribune.

Texas had a total of eight proposed amendments on the ballot, all of which are projected to move forward.

Proposition 6 received the most support, with more than 1.29 million Texans voting for the measure. It calls for allowing residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to be allowed to pick one essential caregiver that cannot be denied in-person visits, according to the Tribune.

Consequential votes took place across the country Tuesday evening, with voters weighing in on governors, down-ballot races and a number of referendums.

Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia’s marquee gubernatorial race, besting former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who sought a second term in the governor’s mansion.

In Florida, voters approved a referendum that calls for closing Miami Beach bars three hours earlier. Lawmakers will now be tasked with writing a bill that reflects the referendum.

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