While all the who’s-who of Texas Republicans (and probably more importantly corporate donors) gather in Fort Worth for the state GOP convention, there are more issues circling the room than simply opposing Medicaid expansion or curtailing voting rights. In fact, after all the calls for the party to stop moving even further to the right, some things just don’t die quick in Dixie.
This week, The Texas Republican Party adopted a new platform reaffirming the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage and pornography, while ending calls for criminalizing both practices.
The later portion of the above sentence drew great praise throughout the progressive and the gay blog-o-sphere with several opinion writers, articles, and many comment threads hailing this as a great step forward and reason to praise all this ‘progress’ in one of the reddest states in the Country, but in order for them to stop calling for criminalization of things that are otherwise considered mainstream in most of the country, they had to first be calling for criminalization of them in the first place by as late as three weeks ago.
I say it’s more like finally getting some water poured in a bucket that has two holes in the bottom. Why praise this slightest of steps in a more modern position without first questing all the foundational bigotry that remains?
In fact, I recall that just two weeks ago, the nation’s premiere LGBT Conservative group Log Cabin Republicans was blocked from even attending and maintaining a booth at the convention and that the alternative Gay Republican group, GOPROUD, finally gave up and dissolved as a group last week due to lack of support within the Conservative ranks for evening including a gay group in their movement.
Saying about the Texas GOP’s decision, Log Cabin President plead:
“This isn’t about disagreements we may have on civil marriage; this isn’t about the party platform — this is about an anti-gay wing of the party that hates gay people so much they can’t even stand to see us acknowledged as a necessary part of a winning Republican coalition,”
Have they been not given more than one chance to prove their viability in a modern, culturally diverse society with these behaviors or, as they say in the South, are they just putting some makeup on a pig and hoping it gets pretty?
Still don’t see a reason to not yet jump for joy about the Texas GOP? Then go and look for yourself and you be the judge on all the ‘progress’ just made in Texas:
[New Draft for 2014 Platform]
“…..Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy….”
The inclusion of ex-gay therapy is likely a response to laws passed in California and New Jersey and proposed in several other states banning this harmful treatment for minors. A broad consensus of psychologist, social scientists, and medical associations have rejected efforts to try to manipulate a person’s sexual orientation, having found no legitimacy to its effectiveness and survivors of this form of treatment have overwhelmingly described it as psychological harmful, having caused them shame, emotional harm, self-hate, suicidal ideation, and nervous breakdowns. Of those who said they experienced harm, 84% said they are still affected by their past experiences with ex-gay therapy today.
Has everyone forgotten that is was in just as late as 2012 that Texas Republicans laid out a platform including these gems:
“……We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call on the President and Congress to take immediate action to defend the sanctity of marriage. We are resolute that Congress exercise authority under the United States Constitution, and pass legislation withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage.
We further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist of and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman. Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse. We oppose the recognition of and granting of benefits to people who represent themselves as domestic partners without being legally married. We advocate the repeal of laws that place an unfair tax burden on families. We call upon Congress to completely remove the marriage penalty in the tax code, whereby a married couple receives a smaller standard deduction than their unmarried counterparts living together. The primary family unit consists of those related by blood, heterosexual marriage, or adoption. The family is responsible for its own welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property.
We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values….”
Bolding is mine, but more importantly those words actually had to officially exist in a State’s official political platform for me to bold them in the first place. Yes, in the United States. Yes, in the year 2012.
A local CBS affiliate interviewed the head of the powerful Texas conservative group Eagle Forum (nationally headed by phyllis schlafly) who was asked about the recent “progress” made within the Texas GOP:
“I think our platform is very fair. It’s traditional….It’s when they’re pushing an agenda that’s different — that really is going a step further. It’s okay if you don’t agree with everything. But it’s not okay to say, ‘it’s all about me. Everyone else has to stand up and take notice I’m special.’”
I’d go to Fort Worth and try to explain to her that having the same rights that everyone else has had all along do not constitute “special rights” and I’m not ‘special’ to be able to visit my partner in a hospital or jointly own real estate nor marry nor file joint tax returns but somehow I’m feeling a bit less welcome on those lands of late.
Oh, and just for fun, BENGHAZI!
“We call upon the United States House of Representatives to appoint a select committee and a special prosecutor in order to subpoena testimony to fully investigate all aspects of the Benghazi debacle, including, but not limited to, the reason Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi; the denied assistance before and during the attack, the accounts of personnel who participated in the defense of the Embassy Annex, and the apparent attempt by the White House to deceive the American public with a concocted story about a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video. We call for bringing those responsible to justice.”
You read it correctly. A STATE platform calling for a resolution to a purely federal, and more importantly false issue.