UPDATED: Log Cabin responds to Congressman Pete Sessions’ decision not to attend dinner

Pete Sessions: Silver fox or just sly like one?

Roll Call is reporting that Dallas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions has backed out of a scheduled appearance Wednesday night at a fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans, saying he needs to attend a House GOP caucus meeting instead.

Well isn’t that a convenient excuse? We’re sure Sessions’ no-show has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, also slated to appear at the Log Cabin dinner, are being villified on right-wing websites for accepting the invitation. As we reported, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins sent Cornyn a letter last week demanding that he skip the dinner. And FRC said on its blog Tuesday that Cornyn shouldn’t have accepted the invitation in part because Log Cabin derives its name from the idea that President Abraham Lincoln was gay, a theory FRC seems hell-bent on dismissing. Meanwhile, American Family Association President Tom Wildmon told CSN News that by attending the fundraiser Cornyn is actively promoting “men having sex with men.”

We called Sessions’ D.C. office to get further explanation about his decision to back out — such as whether the Republican caucus meeting was scheduled before or after the Log Cabin dinner, whether they are in fact at the same time, and if they are, whether he can’t afford to miss a few minutes of the caucus meeting to make a cameo at the LCR dinner. But not surprisingly, Sessions spokeswoman Emily Davis mysteriously became unavailable after we identified ourselves as being from the gay paper, and she hasn’t gotten back to us.

We’re sure some gay Republicans will defend Sessions’ decision, pointing to his appearance at the annual dinner of the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin two years ago. But we’d like to point out that the 2008 dinner came immediately AFTER the November elections, not six weeks before them. Let’s face it, folks, Republicans like Sessions are scared shitless of the Tea Party right now. And while tea-baggers like to say they’re concerned primarily with fiscal issues, many of us recognize them as the same right-wing nutjobs who were peddling social issues five years ago.

In case you’re wondering, Sessions faces Democrat Grier Raggio in November.

UPDATE: Melissa Kennedy, a spokeswoman for National Log Cabin Republicans, contacted Instant Tea to say that our previous headline, which suggested the Sessions had gotten cold feet about the dinner due to pressure from social conservatives, was inaccurate. Kennedy said we should have contacted Log Cabin before posting it. She said Republican House leaders have called a mandatory meeting for tonight and so Sessions’ reason for not attending the dinner is legitimate. She said if Sessions was worried about how the Log Cabin appearance would look, he wouldn’t have accepted their invitation in the first place.

Sessions is sending a senior staff member to pick up his award from Log Cabin, and he’s videotaped a message that will be played during the dinner, Kennedy said.

“We don’t feel like someone left us at the altar,” she said.

Asked whether Log Cabin has any qualms about hosting Cornyn after he supported Tuesday’s filibuster of the bill containing language to repeal “don’t ask don’t tell,” Kennedy said absolutely not. Kennedy said Log Cabin supported Senate Republicans’ decision to filibuster the bill based on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to allow them to propose amendments.

“We’re not saying they’ve been our best buds and we’re going to have sleepovers, but we’re working on it and we appreciate the fact that they said yes,” Kennedy said of Cornyn and Sessions and their decision to accept the group’s invitation to the dinner.

—  John Wright

Commenter: ‘The only thing a disgusting faggot has a right to is a six foot hole in the ground’

We’re really starting to like this game, and we’re hoping a few of our tech-savvy readers will play along.

Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God. has confirmed, using an Internet Protocol (IP) address, that a comment left on his blog under a post about Tuesday’s DADT vote saying, “All Faggots Must Die,” originated in the office of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia. And now Chambliss’ office is conducting its own internal investigation to determine the person responsible for the comment, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“We have seen the allegations and are moving quickly to understand the facts. This office has not and will not tolerate any activity of the sort alleged,” Chambliss spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester said. “Once we have ascertained whether these claims are true, we will take the appropriate steps.”

Which brings us to a comment that was left here on Instant Tea on Tuesday, below a post about Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Pete Sessions receiving awards from the Log Cabin Republicans. The comment posted by someone calling himself “BillyBob” said: “the only thing a disgusting faggot has a right to is a six foot hole in the ground.”

We’re no experts, but using Google alone we’ve managed to trace the source of the comment to the area of Brady, Texas. So what we’re wondering is, can any of our readers figure out who posted it? If so, shoot us an e-mail. We’d like to know.

Here’s the full IP address: 71.116.4.78

—  John Wright

Cornyn, Sessions to get awards from Log Cabin

Frankly we’re tired of talking about how the Log Cabin Republicans plan to roll out the red carpet this coming Wednesday for anti-gay Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and anti-gay Congressman Pete Sessions, R-Texas. But as if merely inviting these two to their national dinner wasn’t bad enough, it turns out Log Cabin also plans to bestow awards upon them. Yes, you read that right — AWARDS. According to a press release on the Log Cabin website, the group will present both Cornyn and Sessions with the Barry Goldwater Award, “which recognizes leaders in the Republican Party who have served their nation with distinction in the model of the late Senator Barry Goldwater.”

Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin notes that Sen. Goldwater famously denounced “don’t ask don’t tell,” saying: “You don’t need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight.” Goldwater was also supportive of his gay grandson. Cornyn and Sessions? Not so much.

Maybe if they rename it the Heidi Fleiss Award …

—  John Wright

Sen. Cornyn admits to using gay GOP group for votes, in letter to Family Research Council

Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Family Research Council, sent Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a letter earlier this week requesting that Cornyn skip an upcoming fundraiser for Log Cabin Republicans he’s scheduled to attend, according to CNN.

“Your work in the U.S. Senate on issues important to the family is well known, as is your close association with Family Research Council and the work we do, which makes the association [with Log Cabin] all the more distressing,” Perkins wrote to Cornyn on Monday. “In deference to the work you have done against the debasement of our culture, I would ask respectfully that you withdraw from attending the event.”

Cornyn responded to Perkins on Wednesday by touting his anti-gay credentials. Cornyn tells Perkins he supports the Defense of Marriage Act and favors a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Cornyn says he supports a referendum that would allow Washington, D.C., residents to vote to overturn the City Council’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage. And he says he opposes the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.”

“All these positions were well known to the Log Cabin Republicans when they invited me, in my capacity as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to attend their event later this month, and I accepted for two reasons. First, part of my job is to reach out to those committed to defeat Senate Democrats this November. The Log Cabin Republicans are doing just that, as they stand for fiscal discipline, limited government, and a strong national defense. We may not agree on several key issues, but we do agree that every committee in the United State Senate should be chaired by a Republican.  …”

Instant Tea has been harping on this issue for weeks, saying Cornyn is blatantly pandering by attending the Log Cabin dinner. His letter to Perkins confirms that Cornyn has no intentions of supporting gay rights anytime soon, and that he’s only attending the dinner to try to drum up votes in November so that Republicans can take over Congress, which would allow them to further FRC’s cause by preserving discriminatory laws while passing additional anti-gay federal legislation.

Here’s an idea: Maybe Log Cabin should take some of the money Cornyn helps the group raise and donate it to the Trevor Project to help prevent LGBT youth from committing suicide because they’re taught to hate themselves for being gay in a society controlled by people like Cornyn.

READ PERKINS’ LETTER TO CORNYN

READ CORNYN’S RESPONSE TO PERKINS

—  John Wright

Sen. John Cornyn calls Reid’s plan for vote on DADT repeal ‘cynical and politically transparent’

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn told The Hill on Tuesday that he believes Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to consider a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” as part of a defense spending bill  is “a cynical and politically transparent move.”

Cornyn didn’t say whether Republican senators plan to filibuster the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act over the DADT repeal provision, or whether he would join such a blockade.

“I know that leadership is asking members about their inclination, and I don’t know that that’s been whipped yet,” he told The Hill.

A spokesman for Cornyn, who’s never cast a single vote in support of LGBT equality, told Dallas Voice in June that he would oppose the DADT repeal measure.

“Sen. Cornyn believes that readiness must remain the highest priority of our military,” Cornyn spokesman Kevin McLaughlin said. “Right now, the Pentagon is studying how repealing DADT would affect military readiness, and this careful review is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Sen. Cornyn believes Congress should not to act on a possible repeal until that review has been completed.”

Cornyn has accepted an invitation to appear at the Log Cabin Republicans’ National Dinner in Washington later this month, and he has pledged to seek “common ground” with gay members of the GOP.

But if that common ground doesn’t include repealing a policy that 78 percent of Americans oppose, we’re at a loss as to where in hell it could possibly lie.

Actually, no we’re not. We’re pretty sure that by “common ground” Cornyn means “money” and “votes.” Talk about politically transparent!

—  John Wright

Right-wing group blasts Texas Sen. John Cornyn for appearing at Log Cabin Republicans dinner

Sen. John Cornyn

A while back we said we hoped Sen. John Cornyn and Congressman Pete Sessions, two anti-gay Texas Republicans, would face backlash from the religious right for pandering at a Log Cabin Republicans dinner later this month. Well, it looks like our wish is already starting to come true!

The right-wing Cambridge Theological Seminary, which claims to have hundreds of member churches in Texas, has posted an open letter to Cornyn saying it plans to oppose him in his next re-election bid and instead support a Tea Party candidate.

“John Cornyn, the junior Senator from Texas has announced that he will attend a fundraiser held by the homosexual same-sex-marriage Log Cabin Republicans, whose mission is to support ‘favored status and special rights for gay and lesbian Americans,’” the group writes. “We urge all Texans to seek his replacement immediately. If he is this bold in public, what is he behind closed doors?”

The group goes on to slam Cornyn for not even having a drop-down menu on his website devoted to “Pro-family and/or anti-same-sex causes.” The group accuses Cornyn of betraying his nation and God by supporting “sodomizing, AIDS-causing homosexuals who molest and rape little boys …”

Politics makes strange bedfellows, folks, and Instant Tea hereby announces an informal alliance with the Cambridge Theological Seminary to defeat Cornyn in 2014, albeit for opposite reasons. (Who knows, maybe they’ll even send us one of the free degrees they offer online.) Below is the e-mail the group says it sent to Cornyn.

—  John Wright

Sen. Cornyn: How could I be pandering to the gays when I’m not even up for re-election?

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, says there’s no way he could be pandering for votes and money by attending a dinner for a gay group six weeks before the mid-term elections — because he’s not even on the ballot this year.

Cornyn, who’s never before spoken to the gay press, made the statement in a direct message to Dallas Voice on Twitter on Aug. 1, two days after he was accused of pandering in a post on this blog. We didn’t notice the Twitter message in our Inbox until this week.

Cornyn has consistently voted against gay rights in the Senate, receiving a zero from the Human Rights Campaign on its Congressional Scorecard, and he’s advocated for a federal ban on gay marriage as recently as this year. Now, with the election looming, he’s agreed to speak at the National Dinner of the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay GOP group.

As chair of the Senatorial Committee, Cornyn is over Republican re-election efforts this year. We suggested that he’s trying to scrounge up money and votes for Republicans from gays around the country by appearing at Log Cabin. But Cornyn seemed to have forgotten about his role as committee chair when he sent the Twitter message. He suggested that he couldn’t be pandering because he’s not up for re-election until 2014. Again, the Instant Tea post to which Cornyn was responding is here, and here’s a screen grab of his Twitter message, in which he appears to specifically address our criticism related to the timing of the dinner, which will be held Sept. 22:

We tried to send Cornyn a direct-message response, but we were unable to do so because he isn’t a follower of Dallas Voice on Twitter. So we sent him a public response requesting an interview. He has not responded.

John, if you’re reading this, we’d love to talk to you. Instant Tea is officially nonpartisan. You may get a chance to prove you’re not pandering by voting for a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which could come to the Senate floor around the same time as the Log Cabin dinner.

Until then, we’re inclined to agree with the Texas Observer, which has a post up today mentioning Cornyn’s appearance at the Log Cabin dinner. Congressman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who’s over the House campaign committee, is also slated to appear. From the Observer:

So why would these two leading gay-rights opponents — Republicans from a state where gay people can’t even get divorced, and the governor can’t stop bashing them — attend such a function? Because their job is to raise campaign cash. While marriage might be reserved for certain people, and while gays might make a handy punching-bag when you want to throw some red meat at the hardcore right-wing folk out there, money is money. Priorities are priorities.

—  John Wright

Cornyn to seek ‘common ground’ with Log Cabin — 6 weeks before the Nov. mid-term elections

Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, who famously compared gays to “box turtles” in the draft of a 2004 speech, now says he wants to find common ground with LGBT Republicans.

Cornyn, who happens to be chair of the GOP’s Senate campaign committee, reportedly plans to visit a Log Cabin Republicans reception before the group’s national dinner in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 22, about six weeks before the critical mid-term elections. From the Standard-Times of San Angelo:

“Some things we won’t agree on,” Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said. “But I think it’s always better to talk and then try find those things we can agree on rather than just assume there’s no common ground whatsoever.”

Cornyn said same-sex marriage is “absolutely” one of those things he and LCR members don’t agree on, but he’s happy to talk to them.

“I don’t want people to misunderstand and think that I don’t respect the dignity of every human being regardless of sexual orientation,” Cornyn said.

We’re sure some will try to argue this is a sign of progress, but we mustn’t forget Cornyn’s strong support for a federal marriage amendment, his vote against hate crimes last year, his stated opposition to DADT repeal, and his all-but-certain vote against ENDA if it ever reaches the Senate floor. Cornyn has received a zero on every Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard since he took office.

So, until Cornyn puts his votes where his mouth is — and he very well might get a chance when DADT repeal comes to the Senate floor the same month he’s slated to visit Log Cabin — we see this visit as nothing more than pandering for votes and money from gay Republicans across the country. When the GOP platform in your home state calls for imprisoning gays, where can the common ground possibly be?

—  John Wright

Houston holds ENDA rally

ENDA Houston 3

On Tuesday, April 6, rallies were held in a number of cities to support the ENDA 4 who went to court that day.

In Houston, a rally was held at the office of Sen. John Cornyn. About 45 people attended. No one from Cornyn’s office talked to anyone from the Houston rally.

Thanks to Daniel Williams who sent these pictures. More information in the April 9 Dallas Voice.

ENDA Houston1
Richard Thumper in foreground

ENDA Houston 2 ENDA Houston 4

—  David Taffet