Religious-righters are turning to increasingly vitriolic rhetoric as they rally around proposed legislation that would bar any state or local officials in Texas from issuing or recognizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples if federal courts, including the Supreme Court, strike down the state ban on such unions. House Bill 623 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, would bar the use of any public funds for granting or recognizing marriage licenses for same-sex couples and strip salary and benefits from any public officials who do so.
Steven Hotze, a Houston physician and one of the most vicious anti-gay extremists in Texas, is praising the bill on the website of his political action committee, Conservative Republicans of Texas. He absurdly warns that making gay marriage legal in Texas is a threat to freedoms of speech and religion:
“If the Texas Marriage Amendment is overturned permanently, then every Texas citizen, every church and business would be coerced and compelled to recognize and affirm homosexuality and other deviant sexual relationships as morally and legally equivalent to marriage. If this occurs then anyone who speaks out against homosexuality and deviant sexual relationships will be prosecuted for hate speech and hate crimes, violating the Constitutional rights of the majority to their freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”
This is ridiculous, of course. People like Hotze will be free — as they are now — to say the most bigoted and hateful things they want (although they should remember that their critics also enjoy the right to free speech). Moreover, no one will be forced to change his or her religious beliefs about gay marriage. Anyone who thinks such unions are wrong can simply choose not to enter into one. And they’re free to preach about that to anyone who’s willing to listen.
Hotze also claims that Rep. Bell has become the target of hateful emails:
“The homosexuals have already begun harassing him with filthy and hateful emails, hoping to intimidate him and his staff. This has always been the modus operandi of those who oppose God’s Word.”
After condemning such emails to Bell, Hotze moves on to say incredibly hateful things about gay people. The “homosexual movement” is “radical and evil” and “godless,” he writes. He even trots out the “perversion” rhetoric:
“I am drawing a ‘line in the sand’ and asking you to join with me, Rep. Cecil Bell and other conservative Republican state legislators in defeating those who want to destroy the moral fabric of our state and nation by forcing us to accept and affirm ‘homosexual mirage’ and the chosen perverse sexual practices of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) as normal.”
And Hotze claims that Texas is the last hope for Christianity in America:
“Texas is the last bastion of Christian and conservative thought, power and action in the nation. If Texas were to fall, then America would be lost to the socialists and the secular humanists. We must shift the momentum in the battle for the heart of America and lead a Christian and conservative offensive that will spread across America and defeat Obama and his pro-homosexual, socialist allies.”
Hotze ignores the many Christians and other people of faith who support equality for all families. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last March showed that 59 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. A survey last year for the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington found that support for same-sex marriage among religious Americans has grown substantially over the past decade. According to the survey, 83 percent of Jewish Americans, 57 percent of white and Hispanic Catholics and 62 percent of mainline Protestants said they supported same-sex marriage.
But haters like Hotze arrogantly pretend to speak for all Christians:
“Texas and America have a choice: Either we choose to be a Christian nation that wisely builds its laws upon the firm foundation of the Bible, as our Founding Fathers intended, or we foolishly choose to be a secular nation that establishes its laws upon the shifting sand of the desires of ambitious men. We must restore our nation to its Christian heritage.”