Polling shows that most Americans oppose discrimination against LGBT people (and even support marriage equality), but Texas Republican Party leaders apparently didn’t get the memo. The Texas GOP has denied Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization for gay conservatives, a booth at its state convention in Fort Worth next week.
The state GOP chairman, Steve Munisteri, confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that the reason for the rejection is that Log Cabin supports marriage equality for LGBT families:
“The reason it was rejected was because the group applying was associated with advocating for gay marriage. So the problem was associated for advocating a policy decision that was contrary to the platform.”
That’s a rather strained excuse, to say the least. It’s true that the state party’s past platforms have opposed marriage equality. But convention delegates haven’t voted on this year’s platform yet. So it seems odd to deny Log Cabin a booth because the group opposes a plank in a platform that delegates haven’t even debated, let alone passed yet.
The reality is that a lot of Texas Republicans just don’t like gay people. Here’s what the state GOP’s 2012 platform said:
We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. 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 public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
The state party has denied Log Cabin a booth at its convention since at least the mid-1990s. (The party has also repeatedly rejected requests from the Texas Freedom Network for a convention booth.) Robert Black, the Texas GOP’s communications director in the ’90s, called Log Cabin a “deviant group” and compared it to the Ku Klux Klan:
“We don’t allow pedophiles, transvestites and cross-dressers, either.”
“Considering the traditional Republican principles against the homosexual lifestyle, we do not consider the gay vote to have that much of an effect on Republican politics.”
The party hasn’t evolved much on the issue since then.
It’s interesting to note, by the way, that the Texas GOP’s nominee for governor this year, state Attorney General Greg Abbott, backed the party’s ban on Log Cabin when he served on the Texas Supreme Court in 1997. Progress Texas has the scoop on that:
Back in 1997, when he was on the Texas Supreme Court, Greg Abbott ruled on the case of the Republican Party of Texas vs. Dietz, which was a suit brought by the Republican Party against a lower court judge who ruled the Party had to provide the Log Cabin Republicans with a convention booth. Abbott ruled — relying on a muddled conflation of Texas state and US constitutional law — the Party could legally bar the group from its convention because the Texas Bill of Rights only applies to government and the Party’s actions did not constitute state action.