The beginning of a more inclusive Texas Republican Party

Posted on 14 Jun 2012 at 10:35pm

Removal of anti-gay language from state GOP platform resulted from years of hard work by groups like Metroplex Republicans of Dallas

 

Schlein-RobI’m happy to report that the Texas Republican Party has removed several anti-gay planks from its 2012 platform. While a couple of passages still remain, another chance in 2014 gives me hope!

Today marks the beginning of a more inclusive Texas Republican Party that has removed several anti-gay planks about banning gay scouting and gay adoption, and linking pedophilia with our sexual orientation. The core members of Metroplex Republicans have worked for years at all levels within the party to affect this change. From seeking allies at party events, to attending conventions at precinct, senate district and state levels, we have advocated for removal of all anti-gay language for a long period.

Over time, we have had many spirited conversations with delegates, candidates and elected officials about our Texas platform. We have heard for years from Republican candidates that they didn’t agree with some of the unfair language in the “Strengthening Families” section, and we have always known it was a tiny group of myopic volunteers who controlled the committees that create our party platform.

Our greatest weapon against this small group is simply exposing their embarrassing language to a wider political audience. We are convinced that more Democratic activists are aware of the language than Republicans. We recall countless times when fair-minded Republicans expressed disbelief and shock when learning the language was in our platform.

There is no doubt that time is on our side. More and more of the younger delegates see the gay issue as one of liberty. And, even some of the older delegates have softened their stance as they have learned about our community, or have gay grandchildren or friends.

I give a lot of credit to our members’ persistent efforts in posting opinions on Facebook, giving us an opportunity to engage with people who think differently.  I have seen so many times where respectful discussions online can cause people to think and rethink about their attitudes toward gay Americans.

Platform changes of any kind are difficult.  And, once a plank is put in, it is even more difficult to get it removed. I appreciate the efforts of so many allies that helped turn our platform in the right direction.

Poll after poll reveals there is a widening gap between the written Texas platform and the beliefs of rank-and-file Republicans regarding  gays, as well as others issue. Our members are always welcome at Republican events and treated cordially.

As a matter of fact, Metroplex Republican meetings are becoming a “must stop” for most local candidates seeking support and volunteers.

Thus, when gay people ask the question about how one can be gay and Republican, my response is that we do it with an understanding of how the platform comes about, and that at its core, our party and our candidates stand for liberty and freedom — good for all Americans, including gay people.

Metroplex Republicans is happy with the progress made this convention to begin to create a platform that more accurately reflects the very real changes within our party.

We aren’t kidding ourselves — we know there is much work yet to be done. But the 2012 platform compared to the 2010 version is light-years ahead.

One of the most important reasons we remain Republicans is our belief in other core principles of our party — particularly economic and fiscal policy. I believe we cannot truly have equality without prosperity.  Thus, I am hopeful that with the election of a President Mitt Romney, unemployed and underemployed gay people can soon become empowered with economic freedom. Economic freedom and equality go hand in hand. By staying focused on these issues, Romney can increase support in the gay community from the 30 percent garnered by John McCain.

In debates, Romney has made it clear that he stands with us in the areas of employment, hospital visitation and the passage of property to our partners. Plus, I feel confident that the Supreme Court will soon settle in our favor the other issues that concern many of you who read this newspaper — the Defense of Marriage Act and same-sex marriage.

As I have stated on these pages before, I will proudly advocate and support our Republican nominee for president. Today, I can do that with additional pleasure having returned from the 2012 Texas GOP Convention proud that we made a difference and proud of many of my fellow Republicans.

Rob Schlein is president of Metroplex Republicans of Dallas. He can be reached at RobSchlein@aol.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 15, 2012.

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