State Republicans Obsessed with God and Gays
Texas Triangle, August 12, 2004
By Brent Brumley
“The Ten Commandments are the basis of our basic
freedoms and the cornerstone of our Western legal tradition. We therefore
oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display
of the Decalogue or other religious symbols.”
No, it’s not a passage from a sermon at your local
Southern Baptist Church, but it could be. Instead, it is a statement from the
Texas Republican Party Platform. This document, adopted at the GOP state party
convention in early June, is inundated with references to God and religion.
And while issues of separation of church and state were tossed out prior to
the first “Four More Years” button ever being attached to a polyester,
red, white and blue vest, GLBT rights were soon to follow.
The only word in the Texas Republican Platform repeated
as often as the word “God” is the word “Homosexual.” And, of course,
while any passage referring to a deity is written with the utmost of reverence
and respect, the exact opposite is true for any dealing with
non-heterosexuals. In fact, the utter contempt with which the state party
holds gays and lesbians leaves one feeling they have just emerged from a good
old fashioned, barn-burning,
tie-them-to-a-fence-and-leave-them-to-the-vultures gay bashing.
Here’s a sample beginning with the preamble:
“We believe that traditional marriage is a legal and
moral commitment between a natural man and a natural woman. We recognize that
the family is the foundational unit of a healthy society and consists of those
related by blood, marriage, or adoption. The family is responsible for its own
welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property.”
Unfortunately, it seems the preamble to the 2004 Platform
is the most timid part of the document. It only becomes more vile within the
subtext. Sentences like, “We believe the Hate Crimes Law is unnecessary, and
that it unconstitutionally creates a special class of victims. We urge that it
be repealed immediately,” stand out to a community that has fought for years
to deter unusually violent crime like the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.
and the unimaginable suffering of Matthew Shepard.
And while Hate Crimes are mentioned, marriage receives
the full attention of the state party in a rambling diatribe that leaves no
room for guessing about where Texas is headed with regard to the subject of
“The Party supports the traditional definition of
marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural
man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society,
and the Party opposes the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call
on the President, Congress, and the Texas Legislature to take immediate action
to defend the sanctity of traditional marriage. We urge Congress to exercise
authority under the United States Constitution, and pass legislation
withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family
law, especially any changes in the traditional definition of marriage. We
further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a
marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist
and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman.
Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any
unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse. We oppose the
recognition of and granting of benefits to people who represent themselves as
domestic partners without being legally married. Texas families will be
stronger because of the passage by Governor Perry and the 78th Texas
Legislature of the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’, which denies recognition by
Texas of homosexual ‘unions’ legitimized by other states or nations. We
urge the repeal of laws that place an unfair tax burden on families. We call
upon Congress to completely remove the marriage penalty in the tax code,
whereby a married couple receives a smaller standard deduction than their
unmarried counterparts living together. The primary family unit consists of
those related by blood, heterosexual marriage, or adoption.”
The Republicans leave no stone unturned with regard to
marriage. Texans shouldn’t expect the mayor of a local city to follow the
lead of the San Francisco mayor by standing up to the party in power to issue
marriage licenses any time soon.
“The Party supports legislation that would make it a
felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil
official to perform a marriage ceremony for a same-sex couple.”
And just when it seems the obsession with the lives of
gays and lesbians has reached its ultimate height, the Grand Old Party of
Texas created an entire section devoted to homosexuality in general.
“The Party believes that the practice of sodomy tears
at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and
leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. 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 our public education and policy, nor should ‘family’ be
redefined to include homosexual ‘couples.’ We are opposed to any granting
of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not
limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by
homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose
any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of
faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”
And remember the joyous rallies held last June when the
U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Texas Sodomy Law? They have an answer for
that occasion, too—checks and balances be damned.
“The Party opposes the legalization of sodomy. The
Party demands Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution
to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving
Marriage, Hate Crimes, Sodomy Laws, and Homosexuality in
general—Is it over yet? Not by a long shot.
Texas Republicans are very thorough. There are entire paragraphs (long ones)
devoted to Adoption, Sex Education, the Military, and last, but not least, the
Americans with Disabilities Act.
On Adoption the party wants a “traditional” home for
all children and proposes a law that would allow the birth mother to veto any
“non-traditional family” seeking to adopt her child. Of course, “We
oppose mandatory open adoption and adoption of children by homosexuals.”
But non-traditional families will never be an issue if
the state’s education system will start early enough with proper sex
education. However, according to the Texas GOP, sex education classes, if
conducted, should be separated by sex.
“To build strong and lasting relationships, we support
the requirement that schools teaching sex education must teach directive
abstinence until heterosexual marriage with an uninfected person as the only
safe and healthy means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and
pregnancies among unwed students. We believe programs should teach the
physical and emotional risks of abortion specified in State law and rules. We
oppose programs that advocate or legitimize pre-marital sexual activity,
advocate condoms and birth control use by unmarried minors, advocate
abortions, and condone homosexual, bisexual, and transgender acts and/or
lifestyles, and elevate minors’ rights to make sexual and health care
decisions equivalent to their parents.”
If students are fortunate enough to make it through the
gender separated, only offered if necessary, don’t have sex unless you are
straight, healthy and married education program to be offered under the
Republican ideal school system (which by the way should only be available as a
default—private in-home, faith based schooling
is preferred), they might want to seek a career in the military.
Texas Republicans support the military. It consists of
brave and patriotic Americans. But in support of the armed forces they
recommend some standard criteria to be followed by the Commander-in-Chief.
There are exactly 15 items on this list of criteria. Items numbered two, three
and four, respectively, are—the disqualification of homosexuals
from military service; the immediate discharge of HIV positive individuals
from service; and the exclusion of women from combat roles.
And finally, this week’s favorite line item in the
platform. This paragraph was brought to our attention by the Democratic
National Committee and caused The Triangle to investigate the entire state
party document. It deals, inaccurately, with the Americans with Disabilities
“The Party supports amendment of the Americans with
Disabilities Act to exclude from its definition those persons with infectious
diseases, substance addiction, learning disabilities, behavior disorders,
homosexual practices and mental stress, thereby reducing abuse of the Act.”
That’s all well and good except for one minor fact.
Since its passage in 1990, the ADA has clearly stated that sexual orientation
is not a disability, and as such is not covered under the law. And yet, the
Texas platform inaccurately calls for the immediate removal of persons with
“homosexual practices” from protection under the ADA.
“The Texas Republican party is changing facts in a
blatantly homophobic attack against gay and lesbian Americans,” said
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe who called on
President Bush to renounce language in the platform. “Republicans are
abusing the ADA, which has guaranteed equal opportunity and access for
millions of Americans, for their own political games.”
Democrats await the adoption of the national Republican
Party Platform at the convention to be held in New York later this month. It
is anticipated that the national platform will take a much more moderate
stance than most state party platforms. According to Lesbian and Gay Rights
Lobby of Texas Executive Director, Randall Ellis, it only makes sense for
Democrats to start in the home state of the President to discover the belief
system held in the hearts and minds of local Republicans.
“I suspect what’s going on is that they are starting
to look at state party platforms and began where George W. Bush comes from to
show how far to the right the influence in the party is. One of the things
we’ve seen is that the people they are highlighting later this month in New
York like Guiliani, Bloomberg, and Pataki are all supportive of GLBT issues.
They are missing the hardcore religious right activists that the party seems
to pander so much to but cannot use up front for fear of alienating moderates.
I suspect we’ll see more and more evidence of what Bush’s party is all
Ellis is on target with his assessment according to a
spokesperson for the DNC.
“We are building up to the Republican Platform
Committee and we expect their platform will not be as inclusive to GLBT
Americans as our platform so we started to look at individual states to see
how they might be used nationally. We fear the national platform will
misrepresent the national party when they are actually led by right wing
anti-gay groups,” said the spokesperson. “They’re going to present a
masquerade that they are a party of pro-gay moderates but we know Bush’s
support of the Federal Marriage Amendment is on their agenda which is not the
agenda of GLBT Americans or most Americans.”
While the national agenda of the GOP is disconcerting to
many gays and lesbians throughout the United States, Ellis hopes the state
party platform will serve as a wake-up call to the difficult battle ahead for
“It is important to know what this document says
because it shows the outrageous and difficult task GLBT people in Texas face.
This platform should be viewed as outrageous and an embarrassment to fair
minded people in Texas. This, after all, is the party that is leading our
©2004 Angle Media, Inc.
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