Despite Voters’ Attitude Shift, Texas GOP Bars Gay Republican Group From Convention

Despite Voters’ Attitude Shift, Texas GOP Bars Gay Republican Group From Convention

In a big-tent party, the Texas tent seems pretty small. On Saturday, the Texas Republican Party rejected the Texas Log Cabin Republicans, the state chapter of the Republican Party’s largest LGBT organization, from recognition as an official state party affiliate and denied the group a booth at the Texas state GOP convention.

Republican state Sen. Bob Hall, 77, said LGBT groups promoted “unnatural sex,” according to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, while 69-year-old GOP activist Steven Hotze charged gay people with encouraging “immoral and perverted sexual proclivities” in emails opposing the Texas Log Cabin Republicans’ recognition by the state party.

“The [Log Cabin Republicans] is a front group for the LGBTQ,” Hotze wrote, which he claims seeks to “force businesses, churches, schools, governments, and individuals to accept, affirm, and celebrate those who promote and participate in perverted sexual activities.”

The Log Cabin Republicans has in fact called on the courts to respect the rights of religious bakers who refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

The Texas Republican Party prohibited the Log Cabin Republicans from tabling at their state party convention in addition to refusing to recognize them.

The state party’s young people, however, illustrated the generational shift in attitudes towards gay people by advocating for the Texas GOP to embrace the Log Cabin Republicans with open arms. On Saturday, the Texas Log Cabin Republicans enjoyed the support of the Texas Young Republicans, the Liberty Caucus, and 35-year-old freshman U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a rising star in the Republican Party from Houston.

“The Log Cabin Republicans have worked tirelessly for conservative causes and candidates,” Crenshaw wrote in a letter encouraging the group’s acceptance into the state party. “Disagreements over certain policy issues should not be enough to exclude a group that shares the vast majority of conservative governing principles.”

When asked about the Texas GOP’s decision to keep the Log Cabin Republicans away from the state convention, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, 68, sided with Crenshaw on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we ought to shut the door,” to allies, Cornyn told Townhall’s Guy Benson, adding that the party should be welcoming “more friends and supporters.”

The exclusion of the GOP gay group has become an outdated act of intolerance as younger generations of Republicans who hold more accepting views of homosexuality continue to take over the party.

According to a 2014 survey from the Pew Research Center, one of the latest polls conducted on the issue documenting generational levels of support for same-sex marriage within the Republican Party, young Republicans overwhelmingly favored gay marriage compared to older Republicans. Sixty-one percent of Republicans aged 18 to 29 reported supporting same-sex marriage, compared to just 22 percent of Republicans aged 65 and older. Thirty-nine percent of all Republicans said they were in favor of same-sex marriage.

Last year, a survey from the D.C.-based nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that 63 percent of young Republicans still supported gay marriage in 2018. While the poll shows a decline from a previous score of 74 percent in 2015, 63 percent still remains far higher than the 48 percent of Republicans over the age of 65 who supported the measure, which is a sharp uptick from the 22 percent of older Republicans supping it in 2014.

Excluding the Texas Log Cabin Republicans from the state party is therefore not only at odds with younger Republicans in the party, but it is also at odds with the majority of the American public, whose attitudes have also broadly shifted on homosexuality.

Public attitudes have broadly shifted to support same-sex marriage over the last 15 years. In 2004, the Pew Research Center reports that Americans were decidedly opposed to same-sex marriage by 60 to 30 percent. In 2019, the numbers were reversed, with 61 percent of Americans supporting gay marriage and 31 percent remaining opposed.

By refusing to recognize the Log Cabin Republicans, the Texas state GOP further alienates those who may otherwise be receptive to Republican messaging both within the state and beyond, contributing to the stigma of bigotry attached to the party. While the Republican Party continues to grow as the big tent party nationwide, it seems not everything is big in Texas.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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