Chisum offends gay families, Jewish group
Conservative Republican Texas Rep. Warren Chisum, of Pampa, has apparently broken a promise he made last year not to “beat up on the
Chisum told the Austin American-Statesman that he hoped to use his position as the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee to create a preference system for foster care placement, according to Equality Texas leaders. That would involve “tweaking state law to give heterosexuals preferred status as foster parents over gay parents,” he reportedly said.
Equality Texas leaders note that statement contradicts statements he made after passage of the state’s anti-gay marriage amendment, Proposition 2, in November 2005. Chisum said in an interview with the Austin newspaper that he would not try to interfere with gay and lesbian people serving as foster parents.
“I’m not about to go out and beat up on the homosexual community,” Chisum said. “Some of them do a fabulous job of stepping in (as foster parents) when no one else will.”
Equality Texas leaders said in correspondence with supporters recently that Chisum is “placing our state’s most vulnerable children at risk to the radical right’s continuing crusade against gay and lesbian parents.”
“How can Chisum say in one breath that gay and lesbian people do a fabulous job of foster parenting, while in a second, assert they should only be allowed to do so if no one better is available?” they said.
Equality Texas leaders said they met with Chisum to discuss his statements, and that he told them he believes that a “foster child’s welfare is better served by placement with a married husband and wife over any other parental structure.”
“While we respect Rep. Chisum’s opinion, decades of empirical research show that is factually inaccurate,” Equality Texas leaders said.
This week, Chisum caused yet another, wider stir by distributing a memo written by Georgia GOP Rep. Ben Bridges to Texas House members, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The memo reportedly advocated that schools quit teaching evolution, saying that evolution was based on ancient Jewish religious beliefs.
It contained links to a Web site that warns about international Jewish conspiracies, and it referred readers to the Fair Education Foundation that created the Web site.
The Anti-Defamation League complained, saying the Web site promotes “outrageous anti-Semitic material,” according to the report.
Chisum told the newspaper that he was unaware that the Web site was so offensive, and that he would be willing to apologize if he had offended anyone.
Mark Briskman, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s North Texas chapter, said it was the first time in 31 years that he had ever seen a state legislator distribute anti-Semitic materials.
Equality Texas leaders are urging LGBT people in Texas to participate in Lobby Day at the Texas Capitol on March 5th to help educate legislators about gay and lesbian families.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 16, 2007.