Republican state Sen. John Carona of Dallas, who drew the ire of social conservatives when he spoke out in support of pro-LGBT legislation last year, has signed a letter calling for the Boy Scouts of America to keep its ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
Carona has joined a group of 51 Republican elected officials in Texas who’ve signed the letter published on the website of Texas Values, one of the groups that criticized him for backing pro-LGBT legislation during an exclusive interview with Dallas Voice in October.
“As state elected officials, we strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles. Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men,” the letter states. “Scouts begin each meeting with an Oath, ‘to do my duty, to God and my country, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.’ By caving in to pressure from the social left, the national leadership would violate each of those principles.”
Four months ago, Carona became one of the first Republican legislators in Texas to back pro-LGBT legislation when he spoke to Dallas Voice at a meeting of Metroplex Republicans, a gay GOP group. Carona expressed support for legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment; offer domestic partner benefits to state university employees; and allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both names on birth certificates.
Carona also told the Voice he was “evolving” on same-sex marriage but added that he was “not there yet.”
Carona’s comments drew backlash from both Texas Values and the Texas Pastor Council, which prompted him to backtrack on the statements, and since then he’s been silent about LGBT issues.
Jamie McCormick, a spokeswoman in Carona’s Austin office, said the senator was in Dallas on Monday afternoon and she was trying to get in touch with him to see if he has anything to say about his decision to sign the letter.
In January, when senators drew lots to determine how long their terms will be, Carona drew a two-year term, meaning he’ll be up for re-election in 2014.
It seems fairly obvious that in signing the Texas Values Boy Scouts letter, Carona is pandering to social conservatives in an effort to stave off a challenge from the right in the Republican Primary.
It’s a cowardly move, and the LGBT community should call him out on it. Contact info for Sen. Carona can be found here.