Both the Democratic and Republican parties of Texas will meet in convention this week. Ever since the religious right’s takeover of the Texas Republican Party in the 1990s, the state GOP platform has been almost a manifesto for extremism. The 2010 platform, for example, calls separation of church and state a “myth”; insists on abstinence-only programs that promote ignorance in sex education classes; opposes minimum wage laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Endangered Species Act and Social Security; and actually calls for the creation of a state militia to protect Texas sovereignty.
But it reserves some of its harshest language for designating gay people as even worse than second-class citizens in Texas. In fact, the platform doesn’t just oppose laws that bar anti-gay discrimination. Language promoting discrimination is enshrined in the document — including support for sodomy laws that criminalize private, consensual relationships between same-sex partners and calling on Congress to bar federal courts from protecting the rights of those couples. And it says this:
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 shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.
So what can we expect to see when this year’s Texas GOP convention opens in Forth Worth on Thursday? Perhaps the platform adopted by the North Carolina Republican Party this past weekend points the way. That platform expressly condemns discrimination against nearly everyone — except gay people:
Government should treat all citizens impartially, without regard to wealth, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sex, political affiliation or national origin. We oppose all forms of invidious discrimination. Sexual orientation is not an appropriate category.
We’re not encouraged, to say the least.