Texas GOP presses reparative therapy for gays

mus41289The Associated Press and NBC are reporting this morning that the Texas Republican Party — which is holding its convention this weekend in Fort Worth, with 10,000 delegates in attendance — has introduced a platform to endorse reparative therapy for gays. The full delegation is expected to vote on the issue Saturday.

The platform would “recognize the legitimacy and  efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” The language is peculiar, since reparative therapy has been rejected by psychology professionals and even dismissed by former therapists. The process seeks to “train” gay people to “become” straight. It tacitly embraces the concept that sexual orientation is a “choice.”

This follows recent word this week that the Texas GOP had abandoned anti-gay rhetoric in the party platform, as well as a controversy over the role of gay Republicans at the convention.

Read more about the resolution here.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Log Cabin condemns Harris Co. GOP official for implying gays are pedophiles

Picture 15

Log Cabin Republicans is angered at the Texas GOP, and especially the Harris County Republican Party, for the gay-baiting and hateful treatment of a precinct chair applicant.

Christopher Busby, vice president of the Houston chapter of Log Cabin, had an interview in April with the county party for a precinct chair vacancy after his application last summer went missing.

But Busby was asked outlandish questions about gay issues, whether he supports pedophilia and sex education for young schoolchildren because he is a Log Cabin member. He was denied the position, which remains vacant. Harris County Republican Party Vacancy Committee member Terry Lowry was the person who continued to insinuate Busby’s connection to LCR meant he supports pedophilia.

“Since learning about this outrageous incident last week, the Log Cabin Republicans National office has attempted to work in good faith with the Harris County Republican Party, the Texas State Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee on this issue, but our best efforts to secure a simple condemnation of Terry Lowry and his mind-boggling ignorance were met with hand-sitting,” LCR Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a statement.

“Ultimately the members of the Vacancy Committee and County Chairman Jared Woodfill, who appointed them, have rejected Reagan and the big-tent philosophy which has made our party what it is today. Terry Lowry needs to resign, Christopher Busby needs to be appointed to fill that vacancy, and the Harris County GOP needs to get its act together unless it wants to bear the responsibility for handing Texas to the Democrats on a silver platter in 2014.”

Houston Chronicle blogger and LCR member David Jennings blogged about the incident:

One of the members of the committee that I talked to today said that what happened during that meeting was  ”criminal” and that they would resign because of it. Another member told me that they were “appalled by the treatment of that young man”. Yet another said that it was “gay baiting” and that one person on the committee “implied that the only reason gays want to be a part of the party is to relax laws so that they can molest little boys”. A precinct chair in attendance to observe the meeting said that “they tried to bait the guy into admitting that he was a pedophile.”

Busby later responded to the blog, saying that he was dismayed that his years of dedication to the Republican Party went unnoticed by the committee. He told Dallas Voice he plans to run for precinct chair without the committee’s blessing during an election.

—  Dallasvoice

Rep. Farrar: GOP’s ‘silence is deafening’ on removing ‘homosexual conduct’ law from books

Rep. Jessica Farrar

Mother Jones magazine has an excellent piece up today about efforts to remove Texas’ unconstitutional “homosexual conduct” law from the books.

Unlike other recent stories about the issue, the Mother Jones article notes that the Texas GOP platform opposes the legalization of sodomy. The story also points out that Republican Gov. Rick Perry voiced support for the “homosexual conduct” law in 2002 — “I think our law is appropriate that we have on the books,” he said — and again in his new book Fed Up.

If you’ll remember, GOP State Rep. Wayne Christian recently told an Austin newspaper that the Legislature simply doesn’t have time to deal with the issue this session. But the Mother Jones story notes that when it comes to removing other unconstitutional laws from the books, that hasn’t been a issue:

“Texas has actually done a pretty good job revising its laws and cleaning stuff up,” explains Charles Spain, a Houston municipal court judge and former chairman of the LGBT law section for the State Bar of Texas. In 2009, the legislature passed an omnibus bill formally repealing more than three-dozen bills that had been ruled unconstitutional by the courts. But the homosexuality statute was pointedly not included in that package.

As good as all this stuff is, the best part of the MJ article is the below quote from State Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, the author of one of the bills to remove the “homosexual conduct” law from the books. Farrar acknowledges that even though the bills have had committee hearings, they’re unlikely to go any further because of the GOP supermajority in the House.

“Their silence is deafening,” Farrar says of House Republicans. “It’s killing us. It’s just as bad as if they were vocal.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Pentagon to unveil DADT plan; Ugandan gay activist David Kato laid to rest

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Pentagon will roll out its plan today for the training and rules changes needed to implement a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” The training is expected to take three months, meaning full implementation of repeal could come sometime this summer. No word on whether the Pentagon plan includes ending attempts to collect money from people like Army Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged under DADT and recently received a bill saying he owed $2,500 for unfinished service. Needless to say, Choi told the Pentagon to suck it.

2. Murdered gay rights activist David Kato was laid to rest in Uganda. Sadly, a pastor preaching at the service at one point told homosexuals to repent, before being cut off by mourners and replaced. And unbelievably, Ugandan police say they don’t believe Kato’s status as a gay rights activist had anything to do with his murder. Police say they believe theft was the motive despite witness accounts that someone came into Kato’s house and beat him to death with a hammer before leaving. Above is a report from CNN on Kato’s murder.

3. The Washington Post claims the Republican Party is moving to the left on gay rights. While we don’t dispute this assertion entirely, we’d like to point out that two of their five examples involve Texas GOP lawmakers pandering for votes and money, then promptly remaining as anti-gay ever by voting against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

—  John Wright

Poll: Gov. Perry, President Obama tied in Texas

Gov. Rick Perry

If Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry runs for president, he may have a hard time winning his own state.

A hypothetical matchup between Perry and President Barack Obama shows them tied in Texas, with each capturing 45 percent of the would-be vote, according to a survey conducted earlier this month by Public Policy Polling.

Perry faired the worst of several Republicans who were pitted against Obama in hypothetical matchups, according to the Texas Tribune:

Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin would beat Obama in Texas by just a single point, 47 percent to 46 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Obama in Texas 49 to 42, while former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich leads the presdient 48 to 43. The Republican who fares best against Obama in Texas is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who trounces him 55 to 39.

In other polling news, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney easily won the first presidential straw ballot of the 2012 cycle, capturing 35 percent of the vote among New Hampshire Republicans. Texas Congressman Ron Paul finished second with 11 percent, followed by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty with 8 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with 7 percent. Gov. Perry was not included in the poll.


—  John Wright

Anti-gay TX GOP platform inspires 2 straight guys from Dallas to bike across the country for HRC

Chris Linville, left, and Justin Snider

Chris Linville and Justin Snider set out Friday morning on a training ride that will take them to Austin and back by Monday night, according to an e-mail we received from Carl L. Andrews of HRC’s DFW Federal Club this morning.

Linville and Snider, both straight Dallas residents, are training for Bike For Equality 2011, a 5,000 mile cross-country tour beginning in March to promote awareness of the fight for LGBT equality. The tour, part of HRC’s “Athletes for Equality” Program, aims to raise $100,000 for the organization.

According to the video below, Chris was raised by lesbian parents and was inspired to do the ride in part by the anti-gay Texas GOP platform.

“I recently read the Texas GOP’s platform and in that I read a lot of things that set me off,” he says. “They want to make it illegal for gay and lesbian couples to have children and have custody of children. Obviously that would have had a huge effect on me personally growing up. If that were the case my parents couldn’t have had custody of me. … When I read the Texas GOP platform it set me into a place where I felt this was what I needed to do, and if I could bring my message or bring attention and awareness to as many people as possible, that’s what I needed to do. In order to bring attention to it, you’ve got to do something that’s a little over the top. You have to really step out there and show that you believe in it, and that’s what I think we’re trying to do.”

To donate to the ride, go here.

—  John Wright

What is the single most offensive plank in the Republican Party of Texas’ 2010 platform?

Texas GOP Chair Steve Munisteri

Last week a coalition of 13 nonpartisan organizations including Equality Texas and the Human Rights Campaign issued a joint statement calling on RNC Chair Michael Steele and Texas GOP Chair Steve Munisteri to “forcefully reject” the state party’s 2010 platform.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about anti-gay language in the Texas GOP platform, but last week’s statement cites a whole host of other objectionable planks, from “Eliminating the Endangered Species Act” to “Eliminating laws that require healthcare facilities to treat undocumented human beings.” Here’s a full list from the statement:

• Eliminating the Endangered Species Act
• Rescinding no-fault divorce laws and supporting “covenant marriage”
• Eliminating future and repealing past presidential executive orders
• Opposing making the District of Columbia a state, leaving tens of thousands of U.S. citizens to pay government taxes without the benefit of a voting representative
• Making every driver’s license indicate citizenship status
• Opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of a belief that it affirms “sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”
• Opposing governmental action to restrict the public display of the Ten Commandments
• Making the issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple a felony to include the civil official that would perform the marriage
• Stating that homosexuality “tears at the fabric of our society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”
• Recriminalizing sodomy statutes in spite of a landmark Supreme Court case that settled the issue a decade ago
• Overturning Roe v. Wade and passing a “human life amendment” to the Constitution, a proposal that would make abortion illegal in all cases and criminalize most common forms of birth control
• Eliminating those with HIV/AIDS, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and mental stress disorders from the Americans with Disabilities Act
• Opposing any sex education “other than abstinence until heterosexual marriage,” a strategy that has proven to be ineffective and that ignores the health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults
• Urging Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom and the Bill of Rights
• Calling for no bilingual education after the third grade
• Eliminating laws that require healthcare facilities to treat undocumented human beings

—  John Wright

Critics give Texas GOP platform too much weight

Log Cabin Dallas president responds to critcism of Republican Party, state platform and gay GOP group’s effectiveness

ROB SCHLEIN | Guest columnist

I agree with Hardy Haberman (“A platform of ideas — bad ideas,” Dallas Voice, June 25) that when it comes to LGBT issues, the Texas GOP platform contains some vehement rhetoric.

Where I completely disagree is his inflated sense of the significance of the platform, his view that Log Cabin Republicans has done little to moderate the party and the impact of the Tea Party.

I could go on and on about the platform writing process, how it’s controlled by the extremists of our party, and how the old guard scheduled the Texas Republican Convention to make it difficult to have honest debate on the floor.

What is more important is to understand the real impact the platform has on Republican legislative priorities.

The fact is, Hardy Haberman is absolutely wrong in believing the platform is used as a litmus test for candidate recruitment and that it’s the basis for legislative decisions. Even those that participate on platform committees would admit to that. Their number one complaint is that legislators do not govern by the platform.

Legislators understand the platform is a way for a small minority of hard-liners to vent their beliefs. They recognize that it contains many planks, not just the ones on “homosexuals,” that aren’t consistent with the views of the general voting public and do not represent the views of rank and file Republican voters.

Additionally, those who recruit candidates and support them with the most funds to their campaigns are outside the Texas GOP structure, and they don’t have an interest in demonizing gays.
Haberman fails to see how the efforts of Log Cabin have had any effect on the Texas GOP. If he is so narrowly focused on the belief that the platform is the complete and almost biblical metric of success, then it would be hard to discern our achievement.

A better measure for our accomplishments, though, is the willingness of legislators to reach back to us when we reach out. Some that Dallas Voice labels as “anti-gay” attended important Log Cabin events: Texas State Rep. Dan Branch and Congressman Pete Sessions.

Others important to the Texas GOP that have visited Log Cabin include U.S. Senate candidate Michael Williams (former railroad Commissioner), Dallas County GOP Chairman Jonathan Neerman, Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey and candidate for governor Debra Medina, who now leads a large political group called “We Texans.”

Naturally, people like Haberman love to complain when others use language that is vehement. Yet he engages in similar language when he says that, “The politically astute will note that most of these changes seem to be a bow to the ‘tea baggers’ and are simply appeasements never to be written into law.”

The term “tea bagger” is no less offensive to me that than the word “faggot.”

Tea Partiers are natural allies to our community. They don’t have a dog in the fight when it comes to combating gays and their aspirations. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Their views on social issues lean libertarian — “live and let live,” “get government out of our lives and our bedrooms.” Their focus is on economic security (reducing the deficit) and keeping our country safe.

Ken Emanuelson, a board member of the Dallas Tea Party, spoke at Log Cabin’s Grand Ol’ Party. And just this week the Republican Liberty Caucus issued a press release condemning the anti-homosexual planks of our platform.

I wonder, too, how Hardy Haberman discerns between planks that appease when he complains that the same planks are the basis for a legislative agenda? Has he ever considered that the passages on “homosexuals” are appeasements never to be written into law?

Lastly, our party’s leadership has changed. Cathie Adams, one of the most strident anti-gay activists, was defeated by Steve Munisteri in a contested race for state party chair. I talked to Steve by phone early in his campaign, and he believes gays should be included in our party.

The defeat of Cathie Adams should have merited a large headline in the Dallas Voice.

And, although I lost my precinct chairman’s race by three votes out of 800 cast against Homer Adams (Cathie’s husband), it’s clear to me that activists of her ilk are on the decline.

Our acceptance and welcoming by Dallas Young Republicans confirms that on questions of gay rights, views are shifting.

Would we like our platform more to our liking? Certainly.

Does the platform in its present form mean Log Cabin isn’t making a difference? Does it mean we should bolt from our party when we agree with Republican principles of limited, smaller, lower cost and efficient government, and disagree with the many actions taken by the Obama administration that have exploded our deficits, placed new burdens on gay business owners and stunted job creation?

Do we abandon our party with which we agree on principles of strong national security and an unapologetic support of Israel for the Democrats who appease our enemies that murder men for just being gay?

Do we switch parties for the “hope” of gay rights as narrowly defined by people like Hardy Haberman? No!

Log Cabin Republicans is making an impact here at home, and nationally with our new executive director, a former Bush appointee and Iraq War veteran.

If Hardy Haberman doesn’t see the impact we are having, it means he isn’t looking.

Rob Schlein is the president of Log Cabin
Republicans of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

The Plank-Wanker: Your daily Texas political platform update

Dallas gay Repulican leader Rob Schlein is getting some major love in the national queerosphere for the statement he issued Tuesday slamming the anti-gay Texas GOP platform. We’ve seen write-ups in places including The Advocate and GayPolitics.com, so no doubt there are others. Still, though, our favorite Log Cabin story of the day is this item from Minnesota’s CityPages, which picked up the condom shown here at an LCR table during Twin Cities Pride. As you can see, the wrapper says, “Drill, baby, drill!! … just don’t spill.” What?

Anyhow, in other platform news, turns out the Texas Democrats actually approved six pro-LGBT resolutions — not four, as we reported yesterday — during their convention last weekend in Corpus Christi.

Dan Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, explains in an e-mail:

In addition to the four Equality Texas resolutions on nondiscrimination, safe schools, accurate birth certificates and competitive insurance benefits, there are two additional resolutions that passed on the floor. One supports LGBT foster and adoptive parents and the other calls for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The resolution calling for the repeal of the discriminatory Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment is not among those that passed — don’t know if it did not pass enough senate district conventions or what.

Anyway, this is the first time ANY of our LGBT-related resolutions passed the floor of any State Convention and to have six of them pass in this convention is truly awesome! We have come a long ways, baby! Our Texas Stonewall members are to be credited for their hard work in turning this dream into a reality.

—  John Wright

GetEQUAL NOW to protest anti-gay Texas GOP platform at Republican event in Dallas next week

When I caught up with Michael Robinson this morning, he was on his way to perform 10 hours of community service stemming from his arrest a few months ago in San Francisco at a protest related to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Robinson was arrested in the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an action organized by GetEQUAL. Since then, he and fellow local activist CD Kirven have split off from GetEQUAL and formed thier own group, GetEQUAL NOW, which is aimed at bringing more diversity to the LGBT equality movement. (Incidentally, Robinson said GetEQUAL leaders have demanded that the new group use a different name, but he has no plans to change it.)

I was calling Robinson because I noticed that GetEQUAL NOW is preparing to stage its first action, and it looks like they’ve picked a good one. According to the Facebook page, they’ll be protesting anti-gay language in the Texas GOP platform next week outside the Blue Mesa restaurant across from NorthPark Center.

As best I can tell, that’s where conservative radio host Mark Davis of WBAP will be speaking on immigration at a meeting of the Dallas Chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.

Robinson noted that the GOP platform also calls for anti-immigration legislation similar to the bill that recently passed in Arizona. And he noted that even GOP groups like the Republican Liberty Caucus have come out against the anti-gay language in the GOP platform.

Robinson acknowledged that the anti-gay language in the platform is not new, but he said it’s time to do something about it before GOP legislators decide to act on it.

“Somebody needs to get mad,” he said. “They need to change that platform. It’s ridiculous, it’s stupid and it’s hurtful.”

Robinson said while many LGBT people are aware of the anti-gay language, they’re passive about it and choose instead to complain about President Barack Obama.

“We’re going to make some noise on this one,” Robinson said. “This is crazy. We’re calling them out, and we’re serious, we’re not playing.”

Rob Schlein, presdient of Dallas Log Cabin Republicans, told me earlier today he won’t be participating in the protest. Log Cabin has been working to remove the anti-gay language from the platform for several years, and the group issued an official statement about the controversy over the platform earlier today. Asked whether he would attend the protest, Schlein said: “No. Our disagreement is focused on the anti-gay elements and the harsh language. This protest takes a more broader vision of opposition.”

Here’s Log Cabin’s full statement:

Recent attention has been given to the Republican Party of Texas and what many consider are the anti-gay planks in its 2010 Platform.  Although these planks are not new, the attention is.  From the Dallas Voice to bloggers all over the nation, Republicans are being painted as anti-gay and intolerant.

At the Texas Republican Party State Convention we warned our fellow delegates of the consequences of including extremist language in the party platform regarding gay and lesbian Texans.  For years, Log Cabin Republicans (a group representing gay, lesbian and like minded Republicans) has submitted resolutions to remove the extremist language at the precinct and state senatorial convention levels.  Emails were also sent to every member of the state platform committee imploring them to either remove the passages or reword them, and  Log Cabin Republicans Dallas offered suggested substitute language.  Those resolutions and emails were ignored by the Platform Committee at the state convention.

Language such as, “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders”, and language equating gay parents with child molesters and abusive parents is obviously not supported by the majority of Texans, rank and file Republicans or even people of faith.

We are regularly contacted by activist Republicans and Republican groups expressing their concern about the appalling language included in this document.  Many gay and lesbian business owners and professionals that are natural allies of the GOP sit on the sidelines at a time when we need their help more than ever.  Young Republicans and young evangelicals are often embarrassed by the antiquated statements in the platform. Worse yet, a recent fundraising drive by a left leaning Washington D.C. gay rights organization highlighted the language from the Texas Party Platform in a letter to its well healed contributors.

The enemies of the Republican Party will do anything during this election to distract voters from the dangerous consequences of their explosive expansion of government and unsustainable deficits.  Republican fiscal and pro-free enterprise policies can save our country.  Now is not the time to be shooting ourselves in the foot simply to pacify passionate but wrongheaded elements of our own party.

The party platform is controlled by a handful of party activists.  We call on Republicans at all levels to publicly repudiate many of the extremist positions taken in the Texas Party Platform.  It is time for Republican office holders to stop pointing fingers while claiming to have “never read the state platform” and clearly state their agreement or disagreement with such foolish language.

We are happy this language is receiving wide exposure since we are certain it cannot survive the light of scrutiny. That said, we also believe the stakes are too high and Log Cabin Republicans is committed to working toward Republican victory despite the language in the platform.

—  John Wright