Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Texas GOP: Turning Gays Into Illegal Aliens

The Texas Republican Party has released its platform. Its archaic provisions regarding homosexuality have been getting a lot of talk lately, and while the anti-gay lifestyles of Texas Republicans fall squarely into the No Surprise There bucket of Bozo the Clown's grand prize game, the extremity of this group's vision for America is rather startling.

See, whenever a political document goes into more detail about homosexuality and reproductive (non)rights for women, visions of The Handmaid's Tale begin dancing through my head while I simultaneously observe that Christian American phenomenon that is Caring Much More About Homosexuality And Abortion Than Privately Worshipping One's Religion. Freedom of religion means, apparently, the freedom to enshrine the Christian equivalent of Sharia law into our shared legal system. Even though, ironically, the Texas Gop platform adamantly opposes recognizing the Qur'an-based Sharia law in the US. Basing a legal system on a fundamentalist religion is bad, you see, except when that legal system is based in the "Judeo-Christian" Bible.

Moving on, let's watch how the Texas GOP gets down with its bad self, attempting to transform lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) citizens into illegal aliens.

1) Denial of Benefits

After defining marriage as "only between a natural man and a natural woman" (they neglect to define "natural"), the Texas GOP calls on Congress and all states to (a) ratify federal and state amendments to their respective constitutions to define marriage as one man and one woman, (b) to not recognize rights for any family unit that is not heterosexual and legally married, and (c) to not recognize domestic parrtner rights.

For starters, notice how the Texas GOP wants all states and the federal government to adopt its extreme anti-gay values. The double-standard there is that, in its very first section entitled "Preserving American Freedom," the Texas GOP demands that other states and the federal government recognize its state sovereignty. Whereas the Texas GOP doesn't want to adopt other states' values, it wants other states and the federal government to adopt Texas GOP values.

Then, in addition to explicitly defining same-sex couples out of the word "family," the GOP states its opposition to the granting of "special privileges" to gay people, "special privileges" like "custody of children" and "partner insurance or retirement benefits." Of course, these "special privileges" are privileges and rights that heterosexuals already get. But by framing these rights as "special privileges," the Texas GOP tries to clumsily two-step around the fact that they actually want to create an unequal category of citizen while letting heterosexual families be more equal than all others.

The Texas GOP later elaborates on the custody bit:

"We also believe that no homosexual or any individual convicted of child abuse or molestation should have the right to custody or adoption of a minor child, and that visitation with minor children by such persons should be prohibited but if ordered by the court limited to supervised periods."

One of these things is not like the other.

Notice here how the GOP groups "homosexual" with convicted child abusers and molesters. Whereas heterosexuals are not categorically barred from winning custody or having visitation with their kids because they are presumed to be fit parents, the GOP presumes all gay people to be unfit parents, indistinguishable from convicted child abusers and molesters. This is an unacceptable defamation of all gay parents.

Now, most Americans favor granting same-sex families some rights, such as domestic partnerships and insurance benefits. And many folks would readily concede the fact that a "homosexual" could be a good parent. So also note the extremity in the Texas GOP's aggressive desire to strip all of these rights away from us, and to do so in every single state. Again, not a huge surprise, but this isn't a Peter LaBarbera or MassResistance article, it's official policy positions of one of the two major political parties in one of the most populous states in America.

2) Criminalization of Homosexuality

Of particular note is the Texas GOP's desire to criminalize homosexuality. For one, they would make it a felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple or for a civil official to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. A felony. As in, prison.

And two, the Texas GOP opposes the legalization of "sodomy." They fail to define sodomy, so it's not clear whether this refers to two men, two women, or any sexual behavior other than heterosexual intercourse, but I would be willing to bet that it at least refers to same-sex sexual behavior, given the tone and context of the rest of the platform.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are defined in part by sexual relationships with those of the same-sex. By criminalizing one of the defining features of what makes us who we are, the Texas GOP precludes LGB people from a legal existence. In the same way that undocumented immigrants are automatically classified as "illegal" by virtue of existing in America illegally, existing as an LGB person in the Texas GOP's utopian world would also be illegal.

To draw on this parallel, throughout its platform, the Texas GOP emphasizes that "illegal aliens" should be prohibited from receiving various state benefits such as welfare and state/federal loans and grants. That moral issue aside, let's note that by categorically denying benefits to LGB people and same-sex couples, the Texas GOP is treating citizen LGB people as though we are illegal aliens who do not belong in their country, in their state, and in their land utilizing their resources (that we contribute to).

Despite boasting over and over again that America is a Christian nation with Christian values, this document shows no empathy, love, or compassion. Instead, the Texas GOP marks homosexualty as a deviant difference that sinsterly "tears at the fabric of society," and then uses that vague, unquantifiable claim to justify heterosexual dominance, superiority, and greater access to state resources. This platform goes further, much further, than a simple desire to ensure only one man and one woman can legally marry. It demands the extermination, elimination, or assimilation of LGB people and families by treating us as a disease upon society and pressuring LGB people to form heterosexual families in exchange for equal rights.

During the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, "marriage defense" attorney Chuck Cooper claimed that it was "a slur on the 7 million Californians who voted on Prop 8" to say that they were motivated by something "dark." He claimed that most people who voted for Prop 8 did not do so because they hate gay people, but out of a mere innocent desire to preserve marriage as one man and one woman. Yes, that was California and this is Texas. But state borders didn't stop the Mormons and other out-of-state individuals and groups from weighing in on the Prop 8 debate, so herein lies the civil "marriage defender's" big chance to prove how much they don't hate gay people.

I call on the "7 million Californians" who voted on Prop 8 and who love gay people to acknowledge and renounce the Texas GOP's hateful anti-gay platform that turns law-abiding citizens into illegal aliens.

Maggie Gallagher? David Blankenhorn?


We are waiting.

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