Equality Texas slams Perry

Dennis Coleman

As we noted below, it sounds as though Rick Perry is staying in the Republican presidential race, at least until the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. But before Perry could announce his intentions, Equality Texas, the statewide LGBT advocacy group in his home state, issued a statement rejoicing in the governor’s poor showing in Iowa and declaring that Perry “will not be the next president of the United States.” Here’s the full text:

Statement from Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman on Governor Rick Perry’s Performance in the Iowa Caucus

The good news is that Texas Governor Rick Perry will not be the next president of the United States. Governor Perry’s homophobic pandering did not resonate with Iowa voters just as it does not resonate in Texas.

As Governor Perry returns to Texas to reflect on his campaign, it is our hope at Equality Texas that he will also reflect on what Texans really want for their state.

Over 75% of Texas voters support prohibiting employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation (1), and over 63% of Texas voters support legal recognition for same-gender couples (2).

It is time our Governor recognize that homophobia and transphobia have no place in our great state and he should join in the effort to eradicate them from all public policy.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: With Perry about to enter race, Bachmann steps up her anti-gay game

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. With Texas Gov. Rick Perry about to enter the GOP presidential race, Michele Bachmann is stepping up her anti-gay game. Polls show that Perry and Bachmann are likely to compete for the critical evangelical vote. So, with Perry’s day of prayer happening Saturday in Houston, Bachmann released a list of 100 pastors who’ve endorsed her on Friday and set out to attend two evangelical church services on Sunday. And one of those services just so happened to be virulently anti-gay, with the pastor denouncing homosexuality as “immoral” and “unnatural” and playing a video featuring a man who claims to have prayed away the gay. Watch the hilarious video featuring the “ex-gay” man, Adam Hood, below.

2. The polls say Perry and Bachmann will compete for the evangelical vote, but Rick “frothy mix” Santorum isn’t about to throw in the towel, so to speak. CNN reports that on Monday, Santorum’s campaign launched a pre-emptive strike against Perry based on the news that the Texas governor will confirm his plans to run for president on Saturday in South Carolina. “If reports are true, then I want to be the first to welcome Governor Perry to the race — but it’s too bad he chose to ignore Iowa,” Santorum said in a statement. “I guess we’ll all see each other soon on the trail. I wonder which version of marriage he’ll be ‘fine’ with in South Carolina – obviously, not the same version he was ‘fine’ with in New York.”

3. Here’s something both Perry and Bachmann — but not Santorum — can include on their list of anti-gay credentials: Their home states, Texas and Minnesota, are both among the 18 where where sodomy laws remain on the books despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2003 declaring them unconstitutional. Equality Matters posted a detailed report about the sodomy laws on Monday saying that not only do they remain on the books, but in some cases they continue to be enforced. Scary.

—  John Wright

PHOTOS: Response to ‘The Response’ begins

Riki Miller, Zombie McZee and Britney Miranda.

The responses to “The Response” are under way in Houston. First out of the gate was Friday night’s LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally.  Despite temperatures that had barely come down from the triple digits, Houstonians thronged to Tranquility Park in downtown. Beyond commenting on the temperature, the common theme of most of the speakers was that the American Family Association and Gov. Perry’s rally is not representative of Houston and is not welcomed.

Robert Shipman, president of the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats, said: “I kinda think Rick Perry chose the wrong city!”

He continued “They are the bigots, we are not … we are Houston.”

“I guess we should take comfort in the fact that, except for some of his staffers, [Gov. Perry] couldn’t find enough homegrown bigotry in the state of Texas to put on the event himself,” said Mike Craig, co-chair of Out & Equal Houston. “He had to bus them in from Tupulo, Miss., and Colorado Springs, Colo.” Craig was referring to American Family Association (based in Tupulo) and Focus on the Family (based in Colorado Springs), both co-sponsors of “The Response.”

State Rep.  Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, provided the closing address. He criticized Gov. Perry for using divisive religious rhetoric for political gain. “Being here today I’m proud that we are fighting back against a narrow, theocratic view of the world that we live in and of our country that says that people are not welcomed — that says that people are bad because of who they are. That is not America,” said Coleman. “That is what is dividing our city, our state and our country.”

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more coverage of the LGBT community’s response to “The Response.” More photos from the LGBT Texans Against Hate Rally below (click to enlarge):

—  admin

Texas House budget includes anti-gay measure, leaves out needed funds for AIDS drug program

Rep. Garnet Coleman

The Texas House approved a budget Sunday that includes massive cuts to public education, Medicaid and, well, just about everything else. The House budget, which now goes to the Senate, would trim $23 billion from current state and federal spending over the next two years. Democrats in the House, who are outnumbered 2-to-1, say the cuts will have disastrous effects on key services.

As we noted the other day, the House budget includes an amendment that would require public colleges and universities in Texas with LGBT resource centers to spend an equal amount, dollar for dollar, on centers promoting “traditional and family values.” The amdendment from Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, passed by a margin of 110-24.

The House budget does not include any additional money for the Texas HIV Medication Program, which will need $19.2 million more over the next two years to meet increased demand. The HIV Medication Program provides life-sustaining medication to 14,000 low-income people with HIV/AIDS. Last week, a Senate budget panel recommended providing the additional money. The Senate’s version of the budget is expected to include $10 billion more than the House, and the two measures will then have to be reconciled. As one lawmaker put it, “Thank God for the Senate.”

After the jump is the reaction to the budget of Democratic State Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who called the budget “shameful.” Incidentally, Coleman proposed an amendment to the budget that would have required school districts to report incidents of harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The amendment failed by a vote of 97-49.

Writes Coleman of the final House budget: “I voted ‘no’ on this bill because in my 20 years as a state legislator, I’ve never seen a budget so devastating to children and seniors. All we’ve done today is move around the deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.”

—  John Wright