As you may have read in today’s Dallas Voice, State Rep. Dan Branch won’t give me an interview. And lemme tell ya, I am just absolutely devastated! As therapy, I thought it might be good to write out the questions I would ask my District 108 state representative if he were to return one of my phone calls. So here goes:
1. In response to a question the other night about anti-gay language in the Republican Party platform, you mentioned that your law firm offers domestic partner benefits (presumably as evidence that you are not anti-gay). Does this mean you would support domestic partner benefits for state employees, or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples in Texas? Why or why not?
2. During your PowerPoint presentation the other night, you talked about Texas’ economy and how important it is that the Legislature limit spending. Three years ago, you voted in favor of an amendment that would have banned gay and lesbian foster parents. At the time, it was estimated that if the bill passed, it would cost the state $8 million by reducing the available pool of foster parents and requiring investigations of current foster parents’ sexual orientation. How do you balance your position on this bill with the need to limit spending?
3. In response to another question, you talked briefly the other night about the challenge of balancing the views of constituents when they are diametrically opposed. You indicated that generally you consider yourself a servant of the people in your district. In 2005, you co-sponsored a bill that placed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballot. You later publicly campaign in support of the amendment. However, voters in your district rejected the amendment by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. Explain how you consider this being a servant of the people in your district. How would you respond to your opponent’s allegation that, “Certainly on the GLBT issues, he is not representing his constituency”?
4. You said the other night you are in favor of “dignity for all” and opposed to all forms of bullying. However, you have twice voted against legislation that sought to combat discrimination and harrassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Texas schools. Are you now saying that you would support this legislation?
5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seemed to indicate the other night that you have family members who are gay. Would you care to elaborate?