Texas Republicans are a conservative lot. Still, it’s difficult to imagine mainstream GOP voters demanding their neighbors be jailed for engaging in a little hanky-panky behind closed doors.
Nevertheless, the state’s Republican party has voted on a platform [PDF link] by which their candidates will stand, and it includes the reinstatement of laws banning sodomy: otherwise known as oral and anal sex.
The party’s platform also seeks to make gay marriage a felony offense, which may be confusing to most given that the state does not sanction or recognize same sex marriages, meaning any such ceremony conducted does not bear the weight of law. Whether this means the GOP wants gay couples married in other states to be pursued through Texas as dangerous criminals, the party did not specify.
“We oppose the legalization of sodomy,” the platform states. “We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.”
Texas first passed an anti-sodomy law in 1860, setting the penalty at 5-15 years in jail. The ban was finally overturned in 2003 by the landmark Supreme Court decision Lawrence et al. v. Texas. The court found that two men arrested in their own home by Houston police, who charged them with engaging in sodomy, were not committing a crime. Indeed, the court said the men were “free as adults to engage in private conduct in the exercise of their liberty…”
To the contrary, the Texas GOP platform goes even further in attacking homosexuals, adding:
We believe that the practice of homosexuality 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 countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable Ã¢â‚¬Å“alternativeÃ¢â‚¬Â lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should Ã¢â‚¬Å“familyÃ¢â‚¬Â be redefined to include homosexual Ã¢â‚¬Å“couples.Ã¢â‚¬Â We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), 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.
In addition to this, the Texas GOP seeks to end the state’s lottery, which provides millions in funding to public education; restrict citizenship to children born in the United States whose parents are citizens; end federal sponsorship of pre-kindergarten schools; impose a jail sentence on any illegal immigrant in the state; shut down all day-labor centers; cut off all bilingual education after a student’s fourth year in a U.S. public school; legalize corporal punishment in public schools; mandate that evolution and global warming be “taught as challengeable scientific theory”; and demand that Congress evict the United Nations from U.S. soil and end American membership in the global body.
In spite of this, Texas Governor Rick Perry went out of his way to extol the virtues of Mexican-Americans and at one point even filled his convention stage with dozens of minorities, essentially using them as props to promote Republican tolerance.
“None of that stopped the convention from adopting a platform full of messages guaranteed to turn off big segments of the Latino vote,” News 8 Austin noted. “Meanwhile, the shrillest of anti-illegal immigrant messages could be found in the vendor booths next door. One popular booth proudly displayed pictures of terrified Mexican women and children apparently rounded up, trying to enter the country illegally.”
“Hispanics will make up 78 percent of Texas’ population growth over the next 30 years, compared with only 4 percent for whites, according to demographic projections,” The Houston Chronicle reported in a story examining the GOP’s platform. “Minority children already make up 66 percent of the state’s 4.8 million public school enrollment Ã¢â‚¬â€ and Hispanics could surpass whites in the state’s overall population by 2015, estimates show.
“Not one of the state’s 181 legislators is a Hispanic Republican.””