This past week it became clear just how hateful and cynical the campaign to defeat a proposed San Antonio nondiscrimination ordinance has become. The ordinance would add LGBT people and veterans to existing city nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing and public accommodations. The City Council is planning to vote on the proposed nondiscrimination ordinance on September 5.

How extreme has the opposition to that common sense ordinance become?

Consider the protesters who this past week booed a gay Marine who lost his leg fighting in Iraq. The Marine, Eric Alva, was simply testifying at a public hearing in favor of the ordinance. That’s right: protesters booed a man who had put his life on the line and lost a leg fighting for them overseas. And they did so because he dared ask his hometown not to tolerate bigotry and discrimination.

Consider also the words of San Antonio City Council member Elisa Chan and her staff members as they discussed how to defeat the proposed ordinance. San Antonio Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff obtained a recording of that stunning discussion.

As Chasnoff reports, Chan and her staffers discussed how they could build opposition to the ordinance while hiding… Read More

With Christmas celebrations on the brink of extinction in Texas, the Texas House intervened yesterday by passing the “Merry Christmas bill” to ensure public schools remain a welcome place for Jesus Santa.

Santa’s attorney — and lobbyist for the religious-right group Texas Values — was at the Capitol to whip votes and remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. Check out this Twitter post from Jim Henson of the Texas Politics Project:

RT @kathygranttx: Every day is Christmas & every night is New Year’s Eve at the #txlege…

— Jim Henson (@jamesrhenson) May 9, 2013

The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.… Read More

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional in 2003, but Texas Values ‐‐ the Austin lobby arm of the religious‐right group Liberty Institute ‐‐ apparently still wants gay and lesbian couples to be thrown in prison. In an email to activists Friday, the group characterizes efforts to take the state’s sodomy law off the books as “undermin(ing) our foundational values.” And the extremist group is attacking any Republican who supports that repeal or other measures that treat gay and lesbian Texans with the same rights and dignity as everybody else.

The email ominously asks whether Texas Republican are “supporting the homosexual agenda” and goes on to attack state Rep. Sarah Davis, R‐Houston, for supporting equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. It then warns that “two priority bills of the homosexual lobby , SB 1316 and SB 538, have both been passed out of committee in the Senate.” SB 538 would repeal the state’s sodomy law, which remains on the books despite the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling against it a decade ago. SB 1316 would treat the relationships of gay and lesbian teens the same as those ofRead More

The head of a Houston-area Tea Party group appears to have been dabbling in extremist right-wing politics for some time and has shared the political stage with various far-right activist and elected leaders in Texas.

According to a report in the Texas Tribune, James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, served as recently as 2003 as director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. From the Tribune:

Ives and his wife have been active Tea Partiers since the political movement began in 2009. Ives spoke about “American exceptionalism” at a 2010 “Back to Basics” rally at the state Capitol, shared billing on a live 2011 radio broadcast with prominent conservative activists Michael Quinn Sullivan and Jonathan Saenz, and in 2012 hosted a U.S. Senate forum for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the man who would later defeat him, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. As recently as July, he was listed on the website of Houston radio station KSEV — [Houston state Sen. Dan] Patrick’s station — as a regular contributor.

Sullivan, head of Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is so far to the political right that he thinks current Republican leaders in the Texas House are too liberal.… Read More

Sadly, history often repeats itself, especially when it comes to discrimination. The debate over the Boy Scouts of America’s now-postponed decision about whether to end a blanket ban on gay scouts is just another example — and a number of Texas politicians have chosen to put their names clearly on the wrong side of history.

More than six decades ago, in 1956, scores of white southern politicians (nearly all of them Democrats) signed on to the so-called “Southern Manifesto” attacking the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling against racially segregated schools two years earlier. Ultimately, 101 elected officials — 19 Senators and 82 House members — signed the Manifesto. All were from states that had been part of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Among the signers was Senator Price Daniel of Texas.

The Manifesto’s words have become only more odious over time. Beyond its claims that the Brown v Board of Education decision was an “abuse of judicial power” and a threat to states’ rights, the document defended the discredited principle of “separate but equal” and the right of states to enforce that principle in education — both concepts that had been upheld… Read More