The Texas GOP platform has called for the support and renewal of the state anti-Sodomy law since 2003. Not this year. BUT, they are still anti-gay!
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), 6–3 ruling struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in thirteen other states, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory.
Texas, and nearly all of the other 13 state never formally repealed their laws in their legislatures although the statutes could not be enforced because of the SCOTUS ruling. Still, the legislature did not attempt to fix the law either. They were having it both ways. The law was on the books but the nasty federal government was keeping them from doing what they said was biblically-based righteousness.
The SCOTUS majority ruling of ruling rests on two points
The Texas “Homosexual Conduct” law criminalized sexual intimacy by same-sex couples, but not identical behavior by different-sex couples—violating the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection of the laws.
The petitioners’ criminal convictions for adult consensual sexual intimacy in their home violated the principles of liberty and privacy protected by the Due Process Clause.
Rewriting the law to deal with these arguments is a formidable challenge. The Texas state legislature has acknowledged this BUT the legislators have had the cover of the party platform when challenged until now. Typically the GOP would call for the state to re-criminalize both sodomy and gay marriage in a nearly unanimous vote at the state convention held each Spring. (For an example see: http://www.rawstory.com/…)
Why? As in most states, even deeply Red ones, the general public’s acceptance that the tide on this issue has turned has led to compromise with so-called bedrock principles.
BUT, many Texas GOP still wanted cover in dealing with their most conservative constituents. Cue Rick Perry.
Speaking in San Francisco last week, Perry, who still has presidential dreams, reiterated what he’d said in his 2008 book, On My Honor, stating, “I made the point of talking about alcoholism. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that. And I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”
In the same week the Texas GOP platform appeared to be following Perry’s line, treating homosexuality as a disease that, like alcoholism, needs treatment.
In doing this, the party as a whole and individual leaders in the party are doing what the GOP does so well. Having it both ways.
The new platform continues to oppose gay marriage and allowing gays to foster children. It opposes any laws that would give gays any kind of rights especially the right to marry. But now all of that is framed as an effort to be of Christian Assistance to those who are allegedly mentally unstable and addicted. A return to compassionate conservatism?
The platform still declares that homosexuality “is tearing at the moral fabric of the family,” and gives full support to the importance of counseling, especially so-called reparative therapy, for those “seeking healing and wholeness from their homoexual lifestyle.”
As in so many other issues the GOP is caught between wide spread social trends and the views of a narrow, reactionary, and often fundamentalist core. The GOP is in a tense struggle to hold onto its religious conservatives. Dave Brat, the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-immigration candidate who toppled House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) in a GOP primary last week, is a deadly reminder that what the GOP core wants is at odds with what most people want.
At the same time, GOP strategists, studying the demographics, know that their future lies with moderate GOPers, independents, and Blue Dog Democrats who aren’t anti-gay but just want their tax cuts.
So they’re trying out all kinds of things.
The Arizona “religious liberties” law vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer earlier this year was an unsuccessful effort to cast the gay issue as a violation of religious liberty. Polling told the tale and Jan Brewer, who is not running for reelection, vetoed it. Perfect. The GOP legislature got to pass the law overwhelmingly and Brewer, who they say is now way too friendly with Democrats, knocked it back. Thus, when evangelicals in a meeting in AZ last week railed against the failure to pass the law, the GOP had a scapegoat.