Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, a local chapter of the national gay-rights organization, held a press conference Thursday calling on their party to change its official platform after being refused a booth at the upcoming state GOP convention in Fort Worth.
"Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues," the group's chairman, Jeffrey Davis, said in a statement on the group's website.
"The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions."
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In response, State GOP chairman Steve Munisteri confirmed to The Huffington Post
that gay rights advocates, along with other groups with missions that run counter to the official platform, are routinely denied representation at the conference. He pointed out that more libertarian-minded groups that advocate for marijuana legalization have also been repeatedly denied.
The official party platform, last updated in 2012, states, "We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit . . . Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle, in public policy, nor should 'family' be redefined to include homosexual 'couples.'"
At the Log Cabin press conference, which was co-sponsored by Metroplex Republicans, the group took issue with the tone and content of the language. In particular the part about homosexuality 'tearing at the fabric of society,' which they condemned with a sign rejecting the argument.
"We want to expose language that will shrink the party, not grow it," said Dallas businessman Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the Metroplex Republicans, according to The Dallas Morning News
Munisteri said he met with the gay rights group, and said they could of course attend as individuals, and advocate formally for changing that one plank of the party platform.
"I returned all their phone calls, we responded to all their emails and explained, if you don't like the policy, you have the right to go to the convention as a delegate and try to get the policy changed," he said.
According to a count by The Huffington Post
, "Fourteen states appear to follow the national platform, leaving 29 other states with their own platforms that oppose gay rights." Seven states and the District of Columbia don't mention gay rights one way or another.
The Log Cabin press conference was held just a day after the campaign offices of Carl DeMaio, a gay Republican congressional candidate from San Diego, were broken into and heavily vandalized.
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