Chuck Smith


That’s how the head of Equality Texas described a Republican state senator’s decision to come out in support of pro-equality legislation this week.

As we reported the other day, Sen. John Carona of Dallas backed three pro-equality bills on Monday in an exclusive interview with Instant Tea. Carona also said he was “evolving” but “not there yet” on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Chuck Smith, interim executive director of Equality Texas, said Wednesday that Carona is certainly the only GOP state senator in recent memory to endorse pro-LGBT legislation. Smith said two sessions ago, a Republican state representative who has since retired signed on to an LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying bill.

“We’re thrilled to see him publicly take a stand in support of these issues and we really look forward to working with him on them in the session,” Smith said of Carona. “While we’re fully supportive and applaud what he said, we’ll watch now and see if he takes any blowback for it.

“He has broken the ice,” Smith added. “Whether or not he gets joined by other people, we’ll have to wait and see. It offers the opportunity to have a clear distinction between what it means to be conservative on fiscal and financial issues, and what it means to be conservative on social issues.”

Smith noted that regardless of whether Democrats pick up seats in the November election, Republicans will retain sizeable majorities in both the House and Senate.

“In order to be successful, all of our equality issues have to have bipartisan support,” he said. “Ultimately if we’re going to get anything done, there needs to be some cooperation and collaboration.”

Equality Texas also encouraged people to call Carona at 214-378-5751 and thank him for his support. If you’d rather write, Carona’s email is [email protected].