Gay Realtor calls out Texas PAC for backing anti-gay candidates

Bob.McCranie

Bob McCranie

The Texas Association of Realtors and its funding arm, the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee, have long endorsed and funded anti-LGBT candidates. But one Realtor is hoping to change that in the coming years, if not sooner.

Bob McCranie, owner of Plano-based Texas Pride Realty, has grown tired of the Texas organizations endorsing and funding anti-gay candidates, including the four at the top of the ticket this year who oppose marriage equality: Greg Abbott for governor, David Dewhurst for lieutenant governor, Glenn Hegar for Texas comptroller of public accounts and George P. Bush for Texas land commissioner.

McCranie isn’t on the endorsement board but has donated to the PAC in the past. He said marriage equality is a Realtor issue because marriage involves property rights, but when he’s brought up his objections to the endorsements in the past, he’s told  Texas is a red state so not many candidates support LGBT equality. The endorsement board even has openly gay members.

“What I’m told is ‘You won’t change Texas’ Texas is a very red meat state,’ but I want my associations of realtors on the local, state and national level to let their candidates know that this is an important topic for us,” he said. “I want them to be aware that they are standing beside candidates that are adamantly homophobic who ring the fire alarm of homophobia to get their voters out. And we just blindly endorse them.”

The endorsement for attorney general hasn’t been announced yet, likely pending the runoff between state Sen. Ken Paxton, R-McKinney, and state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas.

Branch, who represents Oak Lawn, co-authored Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and he filed a brief in a gay divorce case before the Texas Supreme Court last year defending the state’s amendment and requesting the court to overturn a lesbian couple’s divorce.

Paxton, along with anti-gay state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, filed a bill last year to put the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the state Constitution. The act, which the Legislature passed in 1999, prohibits local or state agencies form allowing people to express their religious beliefs, including discriminating against LGBT people. The recent bill never made it to the floor for a vote.

Campbell, who filed an anti-transgender marriage bill last year, also was endorsed. But out state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, was also endorsed this cycle.

McCranie said the recent bill by Paxton and Campbell goes against the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics, which requires that everyone be treated equally. And he hopes the Texas PAC doesn’t endorse Paxton or anymore anti-gay candidates in the future.

“These laws break the code of ethics,” he said. “Why are we endorsing candidates who support this? No matter what the party is.”

The Realtors Political Action Committee funded Mississippi legislators who authored the state’s Religious Liberty Bill, which RPAC-endorsed Gov. Phil Bryant later signed. RPAC is the National Association of Realtors’ PAC.

NAR President Steve Brown, who’s openly gay, recently called McCranie to discuss his concerns and gave him a statement on religious freedom bills.

“Attempts to authorize and encourage discrimination in housing or real estate services under any banner are ethically wrong and wholly inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the REALTORS® Code of Ethics,” the statement reads in part. “It’s unquestioned that where the Code of Ethics and the law conflict, the Code must give way to the law. But we will continue to tell the public, and legislators should be on notice, that the Code’s duties, which often set a higher bar than law or regulation, do and will continue to prohibit discrimination in providing real estate services despite what the law may permit.”

The statement pleased McCranie, who said he’d continue to advocate for more inclusive candidates in the future and encourage others in the real estate industry to do the same.

“My perspective is LGBT Realtors and real estate professionals are hounded all the time to donate to the industry PAC,” McCranie said. “And the industry PAC doesn’t seem to consider LGBT property rights and discrimination to be an issue, and so I’m really trying to raise the conversation in the industry about this.”

—  Steve Ramos

The bigots in Carrollton discover Facebook

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Above is the latest from gay real estate agent Bob McCranie’s Facebook page, which seems to provide an endless source of material for this blog. As we’ve reported, the emergence of an LGBT community in Carrollton hasn’t come without some backlash. McCranie reports:

Just reported/blocked a guy who sent me a threatening FB e-mail saying we “Carrollton Sickos” need to “move on” with an image of the devil. Threats work only if the person threatened stays silent. I have no idea who this person is but I hope someone who does know them takes a minute or two to educate him.

If you live in Carrollton and want to get involved with the local LGBT group, the next monthly meeting of the Carrollton Project is from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Joe’s Pizza, 1855 E. Frankford, Suite 100.

—  John Wright

MOTORISTS BEWARE: Ticket trap reported at Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road

Gay real estate broker Bob McCranie reports via Facebook that Dallas police are conducting traffic enforcement out of the parking lot of Walgreens at Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road. Who knows, maybe they’re hoping to catch the next person who crashes into the Legacy of Love Monument. But seriously, last time they did a major crackdown on Cedar Springs it was something of a controversy.

Here’s what McCranie said yesterday:

I was traveling south on Oak Lawn and turned right on Cedar Springs. The light was green, but there is an additional stop sign at the right hand turn. And I stopped, but right after I stopped an officer stepped out from behind a tree and waved me over. He’s parked on private property (Walgreens) and told me I had run the stop sign. My two clients in my car thought I had stopped too.

So the officer was surly and was just baiting me to say anything smart or disrespectful, like he was upset I wasn’t arguing with him. He asked if I was in a hurry. I said, “No more than usual,” and he said, “So, you’re always in a hurry?” I told him that’s not what I said. The ego trip he had was just grinding but I was respectful, took my ticket and went on.

When I got to the Bronx they said that this officer is working the corner and wrote about 40 tickets the other day. As we ate he kept walking out in the street, waving cars over and writing tickets.

I know the city of Dallas needs money but it’s sad to see them resort to ticket traps.

—  John Wright