Dallas County Republican Party chair to address gay GOP group tonight

Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert, right, and Metroplex Republicans Dallas President Rob Schlein

Say what you want about GOProud affiliate Metroplex Republicans Dallas — and we’re sure many of our readers have plenty to say — but the local LGBT Republican group does consistently manage to bring in high-profile speakers, which, in Texas, seems like an accomplishment in itself.

Back in April, Metroplex Republicans hosted gay Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu — who later, despite dropping out of his congressional race amid scandal, quietly won re-election as sheriff in Pinal County.

Then, in October, there was Richard Grenell, the former spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who went on to briefly serve as a national security spokesman for the Romney campaign.

A few weeks after that, there was state Sen. John Carona, who made news at a Metroplex Republicans meeting by becoming for the first Republican state legislator to support pro-equality legislation — before reportedly backtracking and going silent about the matter.

Which brings us to the group’s monthly meeting tonight, when it will host Dallas County Republican Party Chair Wade Emmert, who’ll provide post-election analysis.

“Wade has compiled some interesting statistics about this month’s national election,” Metroplex Republicans wrote in an email about the meeting. “I know many of us are dispirited about the results, but Wade will inform us of some victories that were hard fought.”

It’s not the first time Emmert has met with a gay Republican group — he’s pictured with Metroplex President Rob Schlein above, and back in January Emmert told the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans: “Don’t let anyone tell you the party doesn’t want you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not welcome in the Republican Party.”

And on that note, you may now continue saying what you want about Metroplex Republicans. But if you’d like to join them, their meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at Mattito’s Mexican Cafe, 3011 Routh St.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Lawmakers refuse funding for HIV/AIDS drugs; 2nd El Paso suspect arrested

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Up to 1,800 low-income Texans with HIV/AIDS could be denied life-sustaining drugs over the next two years, after lawmakers chose not to fund a $19.2 million request from the the state health department for the Texas HIV Medication Program, according to The Dallas Morning News (paid subscription required). Lawmakers claim people won’t be denied access to drugs because the state can siphon off money for the HIV Medication Program from Medicaid, and repay it using a supplemental measure during the 2013 legislative session. But that would require approval from Gov. Rick Perry and the 10-member Legislative Budget Board, and it would make the looming Medicaid shortfall even worse. For political reasons, lawmakers don’t want to raise taxes or use any more of the state’s rainy day fund, so they’re left to make decisions like this. If people are turned away from the HIV Medication Program, it will only result in more new HIV infections and more emergency room visits, which are far more expensive for the state. This is where the tea party gets you, folks, and it’s why these folks should be thrown out on their asses in 2012. But let’s face it, this is not just a fiscal decision. The fact is, some of these lawmakers still view HIV/AIDS as a gay disease, and they believe homosexuality is immoral. The LGBT community should be outraged. Watch video of one client talking about the potential impact of the cuts below.

Ramon Olvera

2. A second suspect has been arrested in connection with a brutal beating and possible hate crime outside a gay nightclub in El Paso on May 7.  Roman Olvera, 19, is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Olvera and a 16-year-old arrested last week allegedly were among six gang members who punched, kicked and hit 22-year-old Lionel Martinez with a baseball bat outside the Old Plantation, while yelling anti-gay slurs. Martinez, who is straight, remains in critical condition. The FBI is investigating Martinez’s beating and other recent hate crimes near the nightclub. LGBT advocates, who say police have failed to address the problem of anti-gay violence, plan a meeting tonight at the local Metropolitan Community Church. CORRECTION: The LGBT group actually met Tuesday night and plans a rally in front of the courthouse next week, according to the El Paso Times.

3. Wade Emmert was elected Dallas County’s new Republican Party chairman Tuesday night. Emmert was endorsed by Log Cabin Republicans President Rob Schlein, who accused Emmert’s tea party opponent of anti-gay tactics during the campaign. Emmert is scheduled to speak to the gay GOP group on Monday. “Congratulations to Wade Emmert for his very decisive victory, 140 vs 95,” Schlein writes on Facebook. “We look forward to being one of the first clubs visited by the new party chairman!”

—  John Wright

The gay Facebook drama behind Rob Schlein’s endorsement of Wade Emmert for GOP chair

Log Cabin Dallas President Rob Schlein
Rob Schlein

Dallas County Republican precinct chairs will meet tonight to choose a successor to Jonathan Neerman, who’s arguably been the most LGBT-inclusive leader in the local GOP’s history. The two candidates to replace Neerman are civil attorney and former county judge candidate Wade Emmert, and the tea party-affiliated former president of the Park Cities Republican Women, Debbie Georgatos.

As chair, Neerman publicly advocated for including groups like Log Cabin Republicans in the local party, in an effort to grow the base and try to stem the Democratic tide of the last five years. Naturally, this led to criticism of Neerman by social conservatives, and now the race to replace him has become the subject of some major gay Facebook drama. LCR President Rob Schlein is accusing Georgatos’ supporters gay-baiting in the campaign against Emmert, whom Schlein is now publicly endorsing.

It all started when Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey canceled her scheduled appearance at next week’s monthly meeting of the gay GOP group. To replace Dickey, Schlein invited both Emmert and Georgatos to speak at the meeting — win or lose tonight’s election. “Both spoke about broadening the party so another ‘test’ was to see which candidate would have the courage to commit to openly speak to Log Cabin before a vote. I wanted to see whose actions would meet their words,” Schlein writes.

Schlein said he was impressed that Emmert immediately accepted the invitation. As for Georgatos, she replied to Schlein as follows: “I am sorry–that date is not possible on my caliber [sic]–and my life is crazy–let’s talk after the 17th (after i get a good night’s sleep). I am telling all the different clubs asking that i need to sort out my calendar after the 17th.”

—  John Wright