Feel the Hate — Then Join TFN to Fight Back

by Dan Quinn

Check out how Liberty Institute — the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family — is describing State Board of Education member George Clayton. Clayton, a Republican from the Dallas area, lost his re-election bid Tuesday in the GOP primary. The sneering contempt is almost palpable:

In the North Texas area, incumbent SBOE member George Clayton finally got around to being transparent about his sexual orientation, admitting his homosexuality but not until after he was elected in 2010 and in office as a Republican. Clayton was only able to garner 23% of the votes in his re-election bid.  So 77% of the voters said “no” to an incumbent moderate Republican running for the State Board of Education.

“Admitting his homosexuality”? He makes it sound as if Clayton had acknowledged a crime. Of course, the fanatics at Liberty Institute believe being gay should be a crime — the group’s president, Kelly Shackelford, has been a supporter of sodomy laws that criminalize private and consensual sexual relationships between same-sex partners. (When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Texas sodomy law in 2003, Shackelford shrieked: “There is no constitutional right to engage in homosexual sodomy. Read the Constitution as many times as you’d like. It’s not there.” He acted as if the case, Lawrence v. Texas, had been simply about a sexual act rather than the dignity of human beings seeking the same right to privacy that Shackelford himself enjoys.)

Look again at the way Liberty Institute’s blogger describes how Clayton “finally got around to being transparent about his sexual orientation.” Note that Clayton has been with his partner for 34 years. (The median duration of American marriages is a bit more than half that.) The blogger also chooses to ignore that Clayton’s relationship with his partner was the subject of a whisper campaign by political opponents late last year. When Clayton publicly discussed his relationship at the time, Liberty Institute’s blogger speculated that voters would be particularly interested because the state board has authority over setting health curriculum standards, including standards on sex education. Ah, yes — the sinister connection between gay people, children and sex. What bigot can resist using that old trope?

But we had to laugh when the blogger noted that Clayton had won just 23 percent of the vote in the four-person GOP primary. He conveniently ignores that right-winger Gail “The Pilgrims Were Commies” Spurlock snuck into the runoff with not even 1 percent more of the vote. Using his logic, 76 percent of voters said “no” to Spurlock’s extremism. Of course, logic isn’t a strong suit for haters.

Such is the hateful, contemptuous face of the radical right in Texas, folks. It’s why the Texas Freedom Network fights for the rights of all Texans and our families. Today is the final day of TFN’s 2012 Membership Drive. We would be honored if you would join us in this fight.