Late last month, the Log Cabin Republicans (who advocate equal rights and opportunities for LGBTQ citizens) were denied a booth at the Texas State Republicans Convention Exhibit Hall, attributable to exclusionary language in the Republican Party Platform regarding sexual orientation.
The 2012 Republican Party platform states:
“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.”
It was no surprise that the Metroplex Republicans, another republican gay rights group, were denied a booth too, but only after their once-approved booth was revoked by convention organizers who had realized the group represented both straight and gay republicans. While both groups were still welcomed to attend the convention as guests, the lone invitation did not reflect enough inclusiveness for both group’s liking. In fact, the LCR National Executive Director, Gregory Angelo, declined the offer and has since continued his focus on keeping Texas red by demonstrating support and equality within the Republican party and in policy. However, members of the group, as “loyal republicans” would still attend.
According to the Austin Chronicle, Steve Munisteri, Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas defended the decision to deny Metroplex Republicans and LCR, noting that many groups who promote ideas contrary to the party’s platform were denied as well.
In response to the rejection, The LCR National joined forces with LCR Texas and Metroplex Republicans to hold a press conference denouncing the party’s platform regarding sexual orientation. Angelo, who attended the conference as well, set out to,”remind the party that gay Republicans are part of a winning strategy to keep Texas red.”
His views on the rejection and the Texas State GOP were very clear. In a statement provided by a Log Cabin Republicans’ press release, he adds:
“It’s simply unconscionable that more than a dozen years since Log Cabin Republicans took the fight for gay equality against the homophobic fringe of the Party, the Texas State GOP still doesn’t get it. We are your friends and neighbors; we are your colleagues and family members; above all else, we are loyal Republicans, and deserve a literal seat at the table at the Texas State GOP Convention. Make no mistake: This isn’t about disagreements we may have on civil marriage; this isn’t about the party platform — this is about an anti-gay wing of the party that hates gay people so much they can’t even stand to see us acknowledged as a necessary part of a winning Republican coalition. At a time when Democrats are working overtime to turn Texas from red to purple and then a vibrant blue, now is not the time for the politics of subtraction and division in the GOP; it is time for addition and multiplication. The Texas State GOP and its leadership ignore that advice at their peril.”
To make matters worse, the conversations that went on during the convention weren’t anymore pleasant. Texas Republicans declared their support of reparative therapy, a psychological therapy in place to turn gays straight. Supporters believe such therapy is effective and legitimate, “for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” Many believe the suggestion is outright offensive. Emmanuel Garcia of Texas Democrats calls it, “sad and disgusting,” and says it’s clear that they’re holding nothing back. He also notes that the Texas Democrats will continue to stand with the LGBT community. Hopefully, Texas republicans can demonstrate this same inclusion and put an end to exclusionary actions.
If you believe that “Love is Love” and that Texas Republican candidates and leaders should not be required to “recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle,” the Texas Democratic Party has begun a petition to gather names and support.