The Texas Senate last night passed and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott a measure that would prevent any 'international law' from being used in Texas civil courts, a bill many detractors say is Islamaphobic, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) doesn't mention Islamic Koranic law, or 'Sharia Law' in her bill. She simply says it guarantees that no laws fro 'foreign courts' will be adopted by Texas civil court judges.
"It's just to provide some belt and suspenders to make sure that, with judicial discretion, we don't trump Texas law, American law, with a foreign law regarding family law," Campbell said.
Muslim groups say the bill is a 'solution looking for problem, and claim that the bill has its genesis in an anti Muslim demonstration on the steps of the Texas Capitol in January in which the proposal was cheered.
State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) grilled Campbell on examples she has seen of foreign law being used in Texas courts.
"What foreign law are you attempting to prevent being used, and can you give examples of where it has created a problem in the state?" Watson asked.
"No foreign law," Campbell replied. "This just provides a context for judicial discretion."
There have been instances of judges whose jurisdiction includes tightly knit religious communities, like the Amish in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the FLDS in Arizona and Utah, and the Hasidic Jews in New York City, agreeing, with the consent of all parties, to allow religious precepts to be used in court decisions on issues like divorce and child support.
In New York City, Jewish communities are occasionally allowed to establish their own Rabbinical courts to decide family law matters.