How Extreme Will the Texas GOP Platform Be This Year?

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.

10 thoughts on “How Extreme Will the Texas GOP Platform Be This Year?

  1. I would not expect you people in Texas to be aware of this, but it might explain the need North Carolina felt for issuing such an odd position statement—mainly because it is just across the border from where the famous event recently took place.

    In Knoxville, Tennessee, they have a privately owned restaurant called Bistro at the Bijou. It is located on Gay Street (you read that correctly) in downtown Knoxville. Gay Street is the main drag through downtown.

    Knoxville has a very popular and simultaneously very unpopular state senator by the name of Stacey Campfield. His district regularly re-elects him, but no sane person can figure out why. State Senator Campfield is a right wing Republican radical with an exponent next to his name. He could have easily written the Texas Republican Party platform and probably made it much worse than it is now.

    What was the great event? Well, Stacey Campfield dropped by the Bistro at the Bijou one night for a meal, and the owner of the establishment refused to seat him and kicked him out of the restaurant, making it unequivocally clear that he was being booted specifically because of his right wing radical political beliefs and positions. The owner was within her legal rights to do so because “right wing nut job” is not a protected class of people under American law.

    I wish you folks in Texas could have seen the outcry from the local citizenry, which tends to also be largely right wing nut job. The term “wail like a stuck pig” was too mild for what ensued. The local newspapers got involved, as did the radio talk shows, television news, etc. Legal opinions were batted around, desperately searching to find some way to overturn the purported injustice. It was a major event that got air time outside the area as well. In the end, the lawyers pretty much agreed that the restaurant owner was within her rights and old Stace never got a meal there and may not ever get one.

    Homer Stokes may be protecting Southern white women from “dawkies, Jews, papists, and all them smart alecs what sez weez descended from monkeys,” but they have no real world experience with what it is like to be discriminated against themselves—to be denied lunch at the counter—as it were. The thing we all discovered is that they hate it just as badly as all the minority groups they would like to do it to—and when it happens to them—they sing with the same high, testicle-snipped soprano voice that the denigrated minorities do.

    This was a very educational experience for these people. Up to this point in time, the term “discrimination” was for these people just some vague and dubious concept conjured up by liberals to give rights to people who did not deserve them and did not have any right to complain about their plight because their situation was somehow not really that bad.

    I cannot tell you what to do out in Texas. However, if I owned a restaurant in Texas, I would find me a nice, fat, pride-possessed right wing political nut job and very publicly deny him seating at my restaurant—and make a big media hubbub about it. You would be amazed at what ensues!!!! It is an educational event that is not to be missed, and the fallout would keep TFN Insider comments going for years.

  2. There was a time that the republican party was a poltical party built on the princples espoused by Barry Goldwater – small government, fiscal restraint and individual liberty. This was the same Senator Goldwater that consistently rebuked religious right lobbyists. And the same Senator Goldwater that has a Planned Parenthood award named after him in Arizona.

    If the GOP continues on this path of becoming a pure religious party instead of a political party it will eventually go the way of the Federalist party.

  3. An interesting contrast, by the by.

    We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state.

    The ultimate reliance of free popular government is the intelligence of the people, and the maintenance of freedom among men. We therefore declare anew our devotion to liberty of thought and conscience, of speech and press, and approve all agencies and instrumentalities which contribute to the education of the children of the land, but while insisting upon the fullest measure of religious liberty, we are opposed to any union of Church and State.

    Texas does a really lousy job on history, sometimes.

    1. Evidently blockquote/cites don’t work the way I expected.

      The former is the 2010 Texas GOP Platform; the latter is… the 1892 National GOP platform.

        1. “Progress” is a kind of complicated concept, with a lot of implicit assumptions. It appears an evolutionary development, just as much “progress” as the rise of antibiotic-resistant STDs.

          Not so good for the host organism, though.

  4. Suppose for a moment we were going to legislate religion in America.

    First a national referendum would be held and Americans would agree that Christianity is the religion of choice.

    Then another referendum would be held to decide whether to legislate a literal interpretation of the Bible. Since 62% of Americans do not believe the Bible is word- for-word that measure would fail and we’d be left trying to figure out what interpretation should become official.

    Of course the religious right would not be happy with this result. They would scream and cry that the 62% is conclusive evidence that liberals have destroyed America, turned it into a moral cesspool. And then, when faced with they insurmountable obsticle, they’d say what they’d always say: Jesus is coming back soon and I can’t wait, he’s gonna bring fire and pestilence and all kinds of bad stuff down upon you non-literalists, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of your misery. Because I’m a good Christian.

  5. I talk with rank and file Texans everyday after work at a local cafe in downtown Dallas. I can tell you , the average working Caucasian male here is just as close minded and negative as the GOP state platform is. The document reflects their values, or at least they parrot them. The state and country’s best defense is its diversity and public education free from religious indoctrination. Right now its easy to see why the state consistently goes GOP.