Texas Congressman Who Linked Same-Sex Marriage to Riots Wants to Be House Speaker

by Dan Quinn

Texas Congressman Bill Flores, R-Bryan, told the Texas Tribune today that he will likely run for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The decision by Flores comes as House Republicans stumble around in search of a replacement for John Boehner, the Ohio Republican and current speaker who has announced that he will resign at the end of this month.

Flores first won election to Congress in the Tea party wave in 2010, defeating longtime Democratic incumbent Chet Edwards of Waco. Flores told the Texas Tribune that he would seek the speakership if Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, continues to refuse to run for the top post — which is behind only the vice president in the line of succession to the presidency.

House Republicans, currently split between really conservative members and fire-breathers who orbit even farther out on the fringes of the right, have been unable to settle on a speaker. So where does Flores fall in that spectrum? Based on his past rhetoric, he’s way out on the edges of the right.

For example, Flores has supported impeaching President Obama, something of an entry-level political position for the extreme right. But he really pushed the limits of reason when he linked same-sex marriage to violence in Baltimore last spring following the death of an African-American man in police custody. Here’s what Flores said about the Baltimore unrest in a radio discussion with Tony Perkins, head of the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council:

“You look at what’s going on in Baltimore today, you know, you see issues that are raised there. And healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in the way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective. There’s just nothing like traditional marriage that does that for a child. Each of us has a mother and a father, and there’s just no way to get around that.”

Seriously, Congressman? Letting committed, loving gay and lesbian couples get married leads to inner-city riots? What a vile (and ridiculous) thing to say. But that passes for serious “thought” on the wacky right these days.

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