Texas GOP lawmaker pledges support for gay rights, says party is changing

State Rep. Sarah Davis

State Rep. Sarah Davis

AUSTIN — Log Cabin Republicans from across Texas met in Austin this weekend to share ideas on the Republican Party’s growing support for gay rights and how they could influence lawmakers in the state to back equality.

Members from Dallas, Houston and Austin chapters attended the first-ever statewide conference, as well as a few people from San Antonio, who decided they would try to start a chapter later this year.

State Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston, addressed a group of about 35 people Friday as the keynote in the speaker series.

Davis began her speech by acknowledging the audience’s “courage and the bravery that I think many of you have shown probably spending a great period of your life struggling with your identity and then finally having the courage and the strength of character to come out to your friends and family as a Republican.”

While Davis is not a member of the LGBT community, she said she understands what it is like, recalling when members of the Republican Party looked at her suspiciously when she was the only member of the party to vote against the sonogram bill last session because she believed it was about personal freedom and keeping the government out of the doctor’s office.

Davis said her philosophy is to vote on the basis of personal freedom, individual responsibility and limited government, adding that Republicans allow social issues to cloud their judgment when it comes to those ideals, including placing “what I believe to be inappropriate restrictions on your personal relationships involving two consenting adults.”

—  Dallasvoice

Lesbian TX House candidate says she changed conversation despite defeat

johnson.ann

Ann Johnson

Lesbian attorney Ann Johnson lost her bid to replace freshman incumbent state Rep. Sarah Davis in Houston’s House District 134.

Johnson trailed in votes throughout election night, ending with 45 percent of the vote to Davis’ 56 percent with about 7,500 votes separating them.

Johnson would have been the second openly LGBT woman elected to the Texas Legislature after El Paso’s Mary Gonzalez.

But while Davis’ record appears to be anti-gay because she voted to ban LGBT resource center at state universities, Equality Texas has said that she expressed an interest in working with them again after collaborating with them on the anti-bullying bill last session.

Johnson told Dallas Voice that she was proud of her campaign and volunteers. She said her campaign deserved credit for the shift in focus to public education and healthcare in the race, two items which Davis started to speak more about because of Johnson.

“I think we ran a great race. We had a tremendous outpouring of support from volunteers who were out phone banks, block walking and standing out at the polls in support of our campaign,” Johnson said. “There was a great shift, I believe, that happened in this district and even Rep. Davis began to speak about trying to be independent and make these issues that we were discussing a priority. I think that’s a credit to the support that we had and the campaign that we ran. I’m excited with what we’ve been able to do and creating a new conversation for priorities in Texas.”

—  Dallasvoice

Houston Chronicle endorses lesbian House candidate Ann Johnson

Ann Johnson

Houston’s Ann Johnson received the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle on Monday.

Johnson, a Houston child advocacy attorney who is an out lesbian, faces Republican incumbent Sarah Davis, whom the Chronicle described as speaking about “politics with a fiery passion, but her passion often seems aimed more at Washington than Austin.”

The endorsement attributes Davis’ victory in the swing district of 134 to tea party turnout two years ago.

Johnson has highlighted the distinct differences between herself and tea party-backed Davis on issues like healthcare and education.

She (Davis) successfully navigated the minefield of wedge-issue votes that defined the previous legislative session — voting no on the sonogram bill, for example. But voters deserve a representative who doesn’t just avoid bad votes, but leads on good ones. We believe Democratic challenger Ann Johnson can be that sort of leader.

Read the full endorsement here.

—  Dallasvoice