Last week I reported that Rep. Joe Straus, the new speaker of the Texas House, is pretty much an unknown quantity on LGBT issues. Almost anything would be an improvement over right-winger Tom Craddick, whom Straus replaced, but there’s also reason for optimism given that the new speaker attends a gay-affirming synagogue and voted against a proposal to ban gay foster parents. Well, now we have what I believe is Straus’ first public statement concerning LGBT issues since his meteoric rise to the top of the House. And frankly, I’m not sure what to make of it. The statement comes from an interview in the January 2009 edition of Texas Monthly, in which Straus was asked about his vote on the foster-parenting bill. The vote took place shortly after Straus joined the House in 2005.
“That was one of the first ‘oh, here we go’ issues,” Straus told Texas Monthly. “Iâ€™m not supportive of adoption by homosexual couples, but the whole issue of government with a fiscal note attached and government employees investigating peopleâ€™s private lives caused me a great deal of heartburn. I remember looking at the expenditure of taxpayer money for that and it was a lot. And it required what? Going into peopleâ€™s homes? Watching the way people dress or the way they talk? I have some pretty strong libertarian leanings, and sometimes that causes a conflict. What gave me confidence to hit the button I hit was that I was very certain that Barry Goldwater would have done the same thing.”
To read the full Texas Monthly interview, go here.