Texas GOP Blocks Gay Conservatives From Having Booth At State Convention

Sarah Mercer, of San Antonio, makes a photo of a Texas flag elephant statue during the set up before the start of the Texas Republican Convention Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas GOP conventi... Sarah Mercer, of San Antonio, makes a photo of a Texas flag elephant statue during the set up before the start of the Texas Republican Convention Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas GOP convention starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday. (AP Photo/LM Otero) MORE LESS
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The Texas Republican Party denied requests from the Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing gay conservatives, to host a booth at its annual convention next week.

Jeffrey Davis, chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, said Thursday in a written statement that the Texas GOP denied the group’s “several attempts” to apply for a booth, “citing archaic language in the party platform” as justification.

“We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it’s time that the Texas GOP’s hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters,” he said.

Gregory T. Angelo, the Log Cabin Republicans’ national executive director, added that the group’s beef with the Texas GOP goes beyond the party’s anti-gay marriage platform.

“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,” he said, adding that in an election year, the state party’s failure to be inclusive could contribute to turning Texas blue.

Steve Munisteri, chairman of the Texas Republican Party, confirmed to TPM that the group’s application was denied because of its stance on gay marriage. He explained that the Texas GOP has a formal policy against allowing groups that advocate positions contrary its platform to have booths at conventions.

The booth was denied not because they were gay Republicans,” he said in a phone interview. “The booth was denied because of the association with the promotion for gay marriage, which is not supported in the current party platform.”

The state Republican Party’s 2012 platform states its position on homosexuality:

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.

Munisteri pointed out that pro-gambling and pro-marijuana legalization groups have also been denied booths in the past under that policy. He added that Log Cabin members are free to advocate whatever positions they like as individual delegates at the convention.

Angelo confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that individual log cabin members would still attend the convention as “loyal Republicans.”

The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement in response to the GOP’s intra-party dustup that invited the Log Cabin Republicans to sign up for a booth at its own convention.

“The Texas Democratic Party has always been proud to be the party of inclusion, the party of all people,” Executive Director William Hailer said in the statement. “It is a shame that in 2014, the Republican Party of Texas continues to exclude and hold prejudice against Texans.”

h/t Houston Chronicle

This post has been updated.

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