Just in case you were wondering if it’s safe for queer people to trust the Republican party — haha, why would you even ask? Texas Republicans recently unveiled their newest platform, and it’s even worse on LGBTQ issues than you could expect. From support for ex-gay abuse to repealing marriage equality, the Texas Republican party is as hostile as it’s ever been, with 24 separate platform planks attacking LGBTQ people.
It’s hard to know where to begin, but their call for families “founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and natural woman” sets an unsettling tone. It manages to attack both same-sex relationships and trans citizens with one phrase.
Going further down to the “Business, Commerce and Transportation” section, the platform criticizes attempts to protect LGBTQ youth from predatory “ex-gay” treatment. The party also wants what they call “municipal preemption” — in other words, using state law to prevent towns from passing nondiscrimination ordinances.
“We urge the complete repeal of the Hate Crimes Law,” the platform reads. Laws that crack down on bias-based crime have been proven insufficient — when a crime is intended to attack an entire community, the punishment for the crime should reflect that intent.
Absurdly, the party also calls for an expansion of anti-LGBTQ speech on college campuses, while also calling for the censorship of educators who talk about queer issues. Texas Republicans want a complete eradication of all sex education in public schools, as well as a re-investment in failed “abstinence-only” programs.
Naturally, while they were on the topic of schools, Texas Republicans wasted no opportunity to call for trans people to be prohibited from using bathrooms and locker rooms, referring to them as “mixed-gender students” and refusing to acknowledge their “transgenderism.”
They also call for a ban on medical services for transgender youth, for withholding treatment from trans prisoners, and of course broad permission for any business to refuse services to any queer person at any time.
The platform wants trans people kicked out of the military; they want landlords to be free to evict queer renters and they call specifically for the end of marriage equality in Texas.
That last point would be a difficult achievement, since the U.S. Supreme Court ordered states to throw out their marriage bans. But the Republican party has a scheme to undo marriage: They want the Governor of Texas to cite the Tenth Amendment and refuse to abide by the ruling. The Tenth Amendment gives states wide latitude to set their own policies, and so the party’s thinking is that because marriage isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the court can’t rule on it.
But that’s a laughably ignorant assertion from a legal perspective. Of course, states must defer to the U.S. Constitution, and one of the Supreme Court’s functions is to interpret how the Constitution applies to laws passed by the states. No serious person believes that the Tenth Amendment is a path to criminalizing the freedom to marry.
But while the legal implications are ridiculous, the platform is far more dangerous as a political document. It’s probably not meant to be taken seriously by legal experts or politicians, since its goals are so implausible. Instead, it’s more likely meant to appeal to voters; it’s a series of impossible promises that will rile up the passions of Texans who’ve been tricked into hating queer people, driving them to keep Republicans in power by any means necessary.