TFN: Travis County GOP ‘dives into the deep end of the crazy pool’

Screen shot 2015-09-23 at 11.16.42 AMThe Travis County Republication “dived into the deep end of the crazy pool” this week, according to the Texas Freedom Network, which called out the Austin-based GOP group for a Monday night tweet promoting a right-wing blog that labeled Islam as a “satanic cult of murder.”

The Tweet — removed from the group’s Twitter feed late Tuesday morning, but not before TFN got a screen capture — linked to the blog that starts with the slam on Islam and goes on to call former President George W. Bush a traitor and a coward.

While the Travis County Republicans are wrong for tweeting such crap out to a larger audience, at least that group had the good sense to remove the tweet. has left the post written by Bob Russell up on its page.

Russell’s post starts out, “Christianity is a religion but Islam is merely a satanic cult of rape, torture, murder, bestiality, and satan worship!!!!!” That’s the part Travis County GOP tweeted out on Monday night, Sept. 21. And it’s “all downhill from there, with the writer demonstrating … an almost unhinged hatred for Muslim,” TFN notes.

Russell George W. Bush and goes after other Christians, notably the Roman Catholic Church.

Here’s one section on “moslems” and Bush: “I remember an instance in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein where a group of ‘jihadists’ fired on American soldiers then hid in a mosque. The Americans returned fire, causing minor damage. The ‘outrage’ of the worldwide islamic cult and the Bush hating ‘American’ media was vociferous. The American government led by the coward and traitor George Bush immediately dispatched millions of dollars to the islamist terrorists to pay homage to allah/satan but before any repairs were made the other sect of the satanic cult blew it up with a truck bomb. The total destruction of the house of satan was met with silence from moslems and the ‘American’ media.”

Then there’s this declaration: “The catholic church is very prominent in the importation of members of the satanic cult of islam while ignoring middle east Christians who are being slaughtered by islamic satanists.”

Liberals, who “stand with the Godless islamic cult against Christianity,” also came in for their fair share of abuse: “Those who constantly scream ‘separation of church and state’ in regards to the legitimate religion of Christianity ( the religion this nation is based on) have no issue with the satanic cult of islam being taught to their children in the public schools.”

Then Russell falls back on the usual “God’s gonna get you” warnings: “I wonder how long it will be until God destroys this nation (as He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) for the cruelty to the innocent, and its promotion of immorality and satan worship.”

Lump this in with the fact that crazy-ass Donald Trump — whose idea of foreign policy and immigration reform is to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it —  is the frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary race (closely followed by the possibly-even-crazier Ben Carson) and the idea of the GOP winning in 2016 gets even scarier than before.

—  Tammye Nash

Huckabee accuses trans women of being child molesters while supporting a child molester

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee

Video of Republican presidential candidate — and former Arkansas governor — Mike Huckabee once again describing transgender women as male pedophiles lurking in bathrooms to molest little girls has surfaced, less than two weeks after Huckabee posted on Facebook declaring his support for admitted child molester Joshua Duggar.

In the video, filmed at the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in late February, Huckabee “joked” about how he wished he could have pretended to be transgender by saying he “felt like a woman” in high school “when it came time to take showers in PE,” BuzzFeed reports. Right-wing news site World Net Daily uploaded the video to YouTube over the weekend.

In the video, which you can watch below, Huckabee said: “For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize that the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your seven-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can’t be offended if she’s greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man.”

Then he added: “Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE. I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’ You’re laughing because it sounds so ridiculous doesn’t it?”

He also claimed there is “something inherently wrong about forcing little children to be a part of this social experiment,” adding “I’m not against anybody. I’d just like for somebody to bring their brain to work some day and not leave it on the bedstand when they show up to govern.”

Of course, while he is more than happy to make up stories about men pretending to be women so they’ll have more chances to molest little girls, Huckabee apparently still stands steadfastly behind his Arkansas buddies, the Duggar family, and their son Joshua, who admitted he molested five younger girls when he was a teenager (and yes, four of those girls were his own sisters).

“Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family,” Huckabee wrote in a May 22 post on his Facebook page (Janet is his wife). He noted that Joshua Duggar called his actions in molesting little girls “inexcusable,” but adds that  inexcusable “doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’”

Huckabee wrote that Josh Duggar and his family “dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities” — without acknowledging that the family dealt with it by not saying anything for more than a year and stonewalling all efforts by authorities to investigate until after the statute of limitations had expired.

Huckabee downplayed Joshua Duggars crimes by saying “Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things,” by saying that because Duggar was a teenager his “judgement [was] not mature,” and he confessed his sins and sought help.

(Joshua Duggar’s father got a police officer friend — since convicted and now serving time for possession of child pornography — to give Josh a stern talking to, and then sent him to live with a friend of the family for three months for “counseling,” which consisted of helping that family friend in his home building business.)

Huckabee concluded: “Janet and I love Jim Bob and Michelle [the Duggar family patriarch and matriarch] and their entire family. They are no more perfect a family than any family, but their Christian witness is not marred in our eyes because following Christ is not a declaration of our perfection, but of HIS perfection. It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness.

“We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”

Hmm. Kind of makes you wonder whose bedstand Mike Huckabee left his brain on that day, doesn’t it.

—  Tammye Nash

Everybody is running for the GOP presidential nomination

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her presidential campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination this morning (Monday, April 4). Yesterday (Sunday, April 3) retired neurosurgeon and Obamacare critic Ben Carson also announced his campaign. Meanwhile former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee plans to announce his campaign tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5).

They join an already packed tent that includes three senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio).

Huckabee is a perennial candidate for office who moonlights as a Fox News host when not mulling a presidential run; he’s the most likely to appeal to the socially conservative grassroots. Carson meanwhile has never run for office, giving him outsider appeal.

Carson and Huckabee regularly spew anti-LGBT venom; venom that likely packs their campaign coffers too.

Both have used colorful language to describe the LGBT community. Carson in 2013 was forced to withdraw as commencement speaker at John Hopkins University in Baltimore for comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia.

Of course Huckabee’s choice words and metaphors are the most widely known. A Southern Baptist minister trained at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has repeatedly denounced same-sex marriage in particular, comparing it to alcoholism.

Along with fellow Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, he appeared in a documentary claiming the push for marriage equality threatens traditional Christianity.

But Fiorina has approached LGBT issues more delicately in comparison. The former corporate executive was the 2010 Republican nominee for the Senate in California, running against pro-LGBT stalwart incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. Though she largely dodged details in 2010, she stated her belief that marriage is an institution between a man and woman. But she also acknowledged the changing views on same-sex marriage at the time. She supported civil unions and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Despite the historic Republican wave, she still lost to Boxer by 10 points.

But don’t worry, more straight white men are expected to announce their GOP bids soon, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. So start popping the popcorn folks, this election season’s gonna be fun.

—  James Russell

Another anti-gay-voting Republican is outed, and he’s ok with that

Screen shot 2015-04-28 at 5.20.03 PM

State Rep. Randy Boehning

Another Republican lawmaker with a record of anti-gay votes has been outed by someone he sent photos of his junk to on Grindr. But in a refreshing change of pace, this guy isn’t trying to convince anyone he really isn’t gay.

According to, North Dakota state Rep. Randy Boehning of Fargo says his exchange on Grindr, complete with a photo of his penis, was made public in retaliation for his vote against SB 2279, which would have protected LGBT North Dakotans from discrimination. Boehning didn’t say who he thought was behind the outing, just that he had been warned by a Capitol employee that another legislator was going to out him if he didn’t stop voting against gay rights bills.

InForum reports: “The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.”

When first asked about the Grindr messages two weeks ago, Boehning declined to comment. But on Saturday, April 25, the lawmaker confirmed that he is Top Man!, and said that sending the photo was not a lapse in judgment on his part because, well duh! That’s what gay guys on Grindr do!

He told The Forum: “That’s what gay guys do on gay sites, don’t they? That’s how things happen on Grindr. It’s a gay chat site. It’s not the first thing you do on that site. That’s what we do, exchange pics on the site.”

Boehning also said that he is attracted to women as well as to men, and that he is relieved that his secret is out: “The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted. I have to confront it at some point.”

He also said that he voted against the anti-discrimination bill because he is representing the interests of his constituents, and that’s the way they wanted him to vote.

—  Tammye Nash

Indiana Senate votes for religion-based discrimination

The Indiana Senate voted yesterday (Tuesday, Feb. 3) to allow organizations such as hospitals and universities with religious affiliations to discriminate against employees who refuse to follow the employers’ religious beliefs, even if the employing organization receives state funds.


Indiana Sen. Travis Holdman

Senate Bill 127 would allow those employers to make hiring decisions based on religious beliefs and to require employees to follow the religious tenets of the employer. The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill on a vote of 39-11. All 10 Democrats in the Senate voted against the measure, and they were joined by one Republican: Sen. Ron Grooms of Jeffersonville.

Republican Sen. Travis Holdman, who authored the bill, said it does not grant license to discriminate, but instead follows federal law which allows similar exemptions from nondiscrimination requirements. But Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian said the part of the bill that allows such employers to require employees to adhere to employers’ religious tenets goes way beyond federal exemptions, and called the measure outrageous.

Outrageous or not, such “religious liberty” bills are definitely all the rage this year, being pushed by right-wingers furious over advances in marriage equality and LGBT civil rights try every tactic they can think of not to have to comply with court rulings striking down marriage equality bans — including an expected ruling this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court. The 2015 Texas Legislature, in session for less than a month, has already seen its share, as the Texas Observer points out here.

—  Tammye Nash

BREAKING: Judge declines to toss Perry indictment case


Former Gov. Rick Perry

A state judge declined today (Tuesday, Jan. 27) to toss an indictment against former Gov. Rick Perry for abuse of power, the San Antonio New-Express reports.

Perry was indicted last summer after he threatened to veto funding for the public corruption unit in the Travis County District Attorney’s office. He stated the Democratic incumbent Rosemary Lehmberg had lost the public’s trust after being arrested for drunk driving. After Lehmberg refused to resign, Perry cut the funding.

Lehmberg, a Democrat, decided to not seek re-election.

A complaint filed by Texans for Public Justice alleged Perry abused his official capacity and accused him of “coercion of a public servant.”

Perry, who is mulling a second presidential run, has reportedly paid his legal team  $1 million out of his campaign war chest.


—  James Russell

The beginning of the end of bigotry in Texas

Editor’s note: Below is an opinion piece written by Todd Whitley, a columnist who contributes regularly to the Texas Voices (formerly Viewpoints) section of the print edition of Dallas Voice. Whitley will also be a regular contributor to our new blog page, which will be called CommuniTEA and which will feature the voices of people of our LGBT community. Watch for CommuniTEA, coming to our website soon.

A vision of what could be, if we all turn out to vote next month

Todd Whitley, Contributing Columnist

I can still remember that moment as if it were just yesterday: I had watched the past two presidential elections with amazement. But never had an election seemed to affect me so personally — in my own state.

Todd WhitleyYou see, back then, although gays and lesbians were making great progress toward marriage equality in other states, in Texas the nation’s longest serving governor, the Republican-controlled state Legislature, both U.S. senators and most of the U.S. representatives were against us. We had no marriage equality and no job protection.

Heck, the establishment was against women and poor people, too.

I admit: I had felt helpless, as if my vote — my voice — didn’t matter. But still, I voted.

As the polls closed, we had only a glimmer of hope. But we had no idea that hope was about to be realized.

A small group of us were watching the election returns at JR.’s. First, the early vote numbers came in and how we rejoiced at the landslide! Then, county by county, we held our collective breath.

Most — but not all — of the rural counties went red, as expected. But the vote count was closer than anyone could have predicted.

But how would the four major urban areas turn out?

The wait was excruciating and the entire bar was on edge, waiting to see what Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas would do.

Then, like a line of dominoes, they fell as something that had once seemed impossible happened. One county after another went blue — definitively so. People in overwhelming numbers — women, lesbians, gays, Latinos, African-Americans — had shown up at the polls and elected Wendy Davis as the first Democratic governor of Texas in 20 years, and only the third woman ever!

It is said, “As Texas goes, so goes the nation.” A state that had been so deeply red — the hateful, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-immigrant shade — began to change. And so did our country.

Our new governor set about to expand Medicaid so that the taxes we were sending to Washington came back home to take care of our most vulnerable citizens, including those with HIV/AIDS. She set a course for our Legislature that increased funding to our schools instead of slashing it. She fought the uphill battle to end discrimination of Texas gays and lesbians, both in matrimony and in the workplace. And she fought for the rights of young Texas “DREAMers” to receive higher education.

Eventually she increased the minimum wage and we experienced real job growth — not the kind that comes from more minimum wage jobs.

It was not easy at all. The stubborn, still-Republican-controlled Legislature fought her tooth and nail.

But by the next election, more Democrats and moderate Republicans had won seats in both houses, and the country began to take notice.

What our governor started could be continued for decades and could catch on in other formerly red states.

You see, no longer was Texas a safe haven for those who would try to oppress women, take away their access to safe healthcare or control their bodies. No longer would the state exclude lesbian, gay and transgender Texans from the benefits and protections heterosexuals enjoyed.

No longer did our students perform at the bottom of the nation but rather they excelled because of the investment we made in their educations. No longer was Texas a state that gave preference to white, heterosexual citizens and instead became known as the Everyone has a Chance State, where each one of us — white and Latino, straight and LGBT, wealthy and poor — had equal footing, was respected, and flourished.

We still had our guns. Churches still decided whether to perform same-gender marriages. But we moved ahead so far.  And the nation followed suit.

All because we showed up at that Nov. 4, 2014 election.



This scenario is fiction, a vision of what could be.

This history has yet to be written. But it will be written, in just a few days.

And it could happen.

We are so close to seeing this vision become a reality. But only if you claim the power of your vote.

The future of Texas — and the nation — is up to you.

Todd Whitley is a local activist who can usually be found tweeting (@toddwhitley), holding a picket sign, thrift store shopping, or eating Tex-Mex. Read his blog at

—  Tammye Nash

This week in marriage equality: Republicans are all over the place

Marriage-Equality-Bumper-Sticker-(7423)A Republican Senate candidate in Oregon supports marriage equality, Georgia’s Republican attorney general wants to avoid it while Indiana’s Attorney General wants it figured out already.


Oregon Republican Senate Candidate Monica Wehby released a TV ad declaring her support for marriage equality. She is the only Republican Senate candidate this cycle to declare her support for marriage equality. She is running against the pro-LGBT equality incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). Should she be elected to the Senate, she would join four other Republicans senators in supporting marriage equality. The incumbent has consistently lead Wehby in the polls. Watch the video here.


Down south, Georgia’s Attorney General Sam Olen has asked that Inniss v. Aderhold, which challenges Georgia’s ban on marriage equality, be dismissed. Lambda Legal, which brought the suit, responded in a brief: “Our democracy functions and prevails because we promise liberty and equality for all. Our judiciary exists to enforce that promise. Plaintiffs turn to this Court to vindicate their families’ rights to liberty and equality.” Read the whole response here.


Indiana’s Attorney General Greg Zoeller is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state’s marriage equality ban, Baskin v. Bogan, also filed by Lambda Legal.“Only the highest court in the country can provide the secure relief that same-sex couples and their children need, and it’s extremely important that these families are able to count on the protections of marriage as soon as possible,” said Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.

—  James Russell

Did state Rep. Jonathan Stickland once support same-sex marriage?


Jonathan Stickland

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, is being accused of supporting same-sex marriage by Andy Cargile, his opponent in the Republican Primary.

Cargile’s campaign is circulating Facebook comment from Stickland’s page that tout his support for same-sex marriage.

In an August 2011 post, Stickland comments, “I a pro-union rights, and I am pro-gay marriage.” Screenshots of the posts were sent to the Texas Tribune.

Family Values is  listed on Stickland’s campaign website under issues.

“The family is the foundation of every society and I believe it is under attack,” his website states. “I believe marriage is between a man, a woman and God.”

Stickland’s office did not immediately respond for requests for comment.

But Stickland spokesman Luke Macias told the Tribune via email: “HAHA. Gay marriage really????” He added that Stickland “is one of the biggest advocates for traditional marriage in Texas. Jonathan believes marriage is between a man and woman and has a voting record to back it up.”

Stickland scored a 14 on Equality Texas’ Legislative Scorecard last year.  He co-authored HB 1568, authored  by state Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, aimed to cut state funding for school districts that offer domestic partner benefits after Pflugerville ISD announced it would offer DP benefits. The bill was left pending in committee.

Statewide advocacy group Equality Texas released a statement disputing the claims that Stickland has a voting record on marriage.

“The issue of marriage equality simply did not come up for a vote during Stickland’s single term in the Legislature,”  Equality Texas Legislative Specialist Daniel Williams said. “It’s bad enough to actually have an anti-marriage voting record, but to lie and claim to have one when none exists is truly bizarre.”

—  Dallasvoice

San Antonio judge leaves GOP over Republican anti-gay ‘hate speech’


Judge Carlo Key

The fight over a nondiscrimination ordinance in San Antonio has lost the Republican Party one of its members.

Bexar County Court-at-Law No. 11 Judge Carlo Key switched his party affiliation to the Democratic Party, saying in a YouTube video Monday that he didn’t leave the Republican Party but it left him. He was referring to the nasty debate over a city ordinance that covers sexual orientation and gender identity in the city.

“I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status,” he said. “I will not be a member of a party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them.”

Among other things he was referring to was Councilwoman Elisa Chan’s homophobic rants. She has since resigned the council to run for the legislature.

Key is up for reelection in 2014.

Watch the video of his announcement below.

—  David Taffet