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Lesbian, gay, & bisexual topics; abortion topics

Proposed restriction of freedoms contained in
the Texas Republican Party platform for 2010

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The Republican Party platform for 2010:

According to the Texas Tribune, the preamble in the platform of the Republican Party in Texas begins with a statement promoting the importance of personal freedoms:

"The embodiment of the conservative dream in America is Texas. Throughout the world people dare to dream of freedom and opportunity. The Republican Party of Texas unequivocally defends that dream. We strive to preserve the freedom given to us by God, implemented by our Founding Fathers, and embodied in the Constitution. 1

However, their view of freedom only applies to a subset of the population of Texas, primarily heterosexual, English speaking, males. Much of the platform involves the actual removal of freedom from some groups. For others, it means the continued denial of equal rights and freedoms.

Within the first third of their platform, we found the following restrictions on freedom related to abortion access, sexual orientation, and other topics.

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Attacks on human freedom of choice related to pregnancy and abortion:

  • They propose that the party defund candidates who do not "support protecting innocent human life." Unfortunately, they do not define "innocent human life." It presumably does not refer to human life in the form of spermatozoa and ova, but does include pre-embryos, embryos and fetuses.

  • They oppose giving women the choice to undergo a D&X procedure instead of a more invasive and dangerous hysterotomy when it is necessary to terminate an advanced pregnancy to save a woman's life or prevent her permanent or long term disability.

  • They believe that a human embryo and fetus have "... a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." They do not include an exception if an abortion is needed to save the life of the woman.

  • They wish to prohibit all abortions in public hospitals and clinics, no matter what the woman's situation involves -- presumably even when her life or major disability is involved.

  • They favor prohibiting the appointment and election of any judges who hold pro-choice views.

  • They support forcing pregnant women to undergo a sonogram before being allowed to obtain an elective abortion.

  • They oppose legislation that would require "pregnancy centers" from revealing their anti-abortion policies to potential customers. A few other states and cities have required some centers to post a sign near their entrance that explains their rejection of abortion as an option. Some centers imply in their advertising that they counsel pregnant women by presenting all of her options, but actively counsel them against abortion.

  • They favor ending the judicial bypass exemption that allows judges to grant access to abortion to minor women in cases where they fear for their own safety or the health of their parents.

  • They favor the removal of confidentiality mandates for minors who seek family planning counseling. This would drastically reduce the willingness of youths to access contraceptive information, and thus increase the number of unintended pregnancies. Since half of all U.S. unintended pregnancies end in an abortion, this would also increase the abortion rate.

  • They favor requiring abortion providers to supply to women with complete knowledge of the physical and psychological risks of abortion. They do not propose requiring providers to supply information about the much higher health risks to a woman who chooses to continue her pregnancy and give birth.

  • They "... urge the FDA to terminate access by women to the RU-486 abortion pill." This would require women who seek abortions to go through a more invasive surgical abortion.

  • They oppose women's access emergency contraception (EC) which they call "dangerous." This appears to be based on a widespread but apparently mistaken belief among the pro-life movement that EC can, under some circumstances, cause an abortion.

  • They oppose surrogate pregnancies, thus limiting options of infertile couples.

  • They oppose public funding for Planned Parenthood or other organizations that "... provide, advocate or promote abortions," even though no public funding is used by such groups to actually fund abortions.

  • They favor legislation that enables hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even those needed to save the life of the woman. This situation has arisen in hospitals controlled by the Roman Catholic Church whose ethics forbid abortions, even to save a woman's life. Medical staff are expected to allow both the woman and fetus to die rather than perform an abortion and allow the woman to live.

  • They propose legislation that prohibits scientific research on human fetal tissue.

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The document's attacks on human freedom related to sexual orientation:

  • #6 of their ten principles is a belief in: "Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman." Merriam-Webster defines "natural man" as a male "being in a state of nature without spiritual enlightenment: unregenerate." 2 It unlikely that the Texas GOP view the future of their state being dependent on unregenerate adults -- presumably mostly unsaved Christians and non-Christians. They apparently have a different definition of "natural man"; unfortunately, the document is silent on this.

  • They support the denial of marriage to loving committed same-sex couples by supporting "... the definition of marriage as a God–ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman." They appear to be unaware that many people regard marriage as a civil not a religious matter.

  • They propose that people be prohibited from initiating lawsuits in Federal Courts involving family law. Many of such lawsuits involve attempts by same-sex couples to obtain equal rights.

  • They favor denying access to marriage to same-sex couples anywhere in the U.S. by adding a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It would restrict marriage to one woman and one man.

  • Unmarried persons and couples, no matter how loving and committed, are not to receive any of the legal rights and protections that are routinely given to married persons in Texas.

  • They oppose programs designed to end discrimination and homophobia against lesbians, gays and bisexuals -- programs that encourage "...acceptance, affirmation and normalization of homosexual behavior" by "school children, parents, educational institutions, businesses, employees, government bodies and religious institutions and charities."

  • They support legislation that would make it a "... felony to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple and for any civil official to perform a marriage ceremony for such." This triggered a great deal of interest on the Internet and other media. A Google search for "republican party texas same-sex marriage felony" found about 427,000 hits. This reminded us of the amusing scene in the movie "Alice's Restaurant" when Arlo Guthrie shamefully admitted to a bunch of men convicted of murder and other serious crimes that he had been arrested for littering. If this law is enacted, clerks would be arrested and given long sentences for the crime of issuing a marriage license to a loving, committed same-sex couple. The clerk would have a real problem if one of the couple was a transsexual. Social and religious conservatives generally define the sex of a transgender person by their genetic/birth sex; others define it by the sex that they appear to be and identify as. So one couple could be considered a same-sex couple by one clerk and an opposite-sex couple by another. The stakes are high, because a felony conviction typically involves a long jail sentence and the destruction of the person's future opportunities in life.

  • They "... believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases." They appear to be unaware that lesbians have a much lower incidence of STDs than do heterosexuals and bisexuals. They appear to be unaware of the long-term relationships involving loving, committed, same-sex couples, and their children, who are denied the 400 or so state and approximately 1,050 federal rights and protections that are automatically given to opposite-sex married couples.

  • They favor the tyranny of the majority over equal rights and opportunities for individuals. They assert that:
    "Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable 'alternative' lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should 'family' be redefined to include homosexual 'couples.' We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin), custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits."
  • They "oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values." It is unclear whether they want to legalize gay bashing by those who want to oppose homosexuality with fists and baseball bats. There is no need to protect those who use words to attack homosexuals since they are absolutely protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  • They "... oppose the legalization of sodomy." Unfortunately, they don't define the term "sodomy." Through history it has referred to homosexual rape (as described in Genesis 19), being uncaring towards the needs of the poor, orphans, the sick, the imprisoned, etc., oral sex, anal sex, or just about any sexual behavior other than that between a married husband and wife. In fact, some married opposite-sex couples have been charged with sodomy in the past for misalignment of their sexual equipment.

  • They favor the denial of the right of individuals to launch a lawsuit in federal courts if it involves sodomy.

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The document's attacks on other human freedoms as well:

The state GOP proposes more limitations on personal freedoms beyond the above items that attack pregnant women, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. They make the document's preamble cherishing individual freedom to sound very hollow:

  • They oppose the use of public initiatives and referenda that allow citizens to overturn unpopular legislation.

  • They propose the establishment of a theocracy. They write: "The Republican Party of Texas supports the historic concept, established by our nations’ founders, of limited civil government jurisdiction under the natural laws of God." Unfortunately, they did not specify which God is to be the source of these foundational laws; we assume they are those of the Protestant Christian concept of God.

  • Local governments are to be given the freedom to "... determine their own policies regarding religious clubs and meetings on all properties owned by the same..." This presumably means that the local government can pick and choose which faith groups they wish to deny access to their buildings.

  • Convicted felons are to be disenfranchised for life, even after they have paid their debt to society and are released from prison.

  • People are to be segregated by party affiliation during primary voting, thus forcing them to identify their affiliation.

  • They support restricting the official language of Texas and of the United States to American English.

  • They advocate that freedom of speech shall not include the freedom to desecrate the U.S. flag.

  • They favor integration of church and state by opposing "... any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols." It is unclear whether they are referring to only Christian religious symbols, or whether they would protect the public display of symbols of religions such as Wicca, Islam, Native American Spirituality, Satanism, etc.

  • They oppose the current no-fault divorce laws that allow married couples to terminate a broken marriage by mutual agreement without having to prove fault by one spouse.

  • They oppose giving terminally ill persons -- who are in in intractable and untreatable pain -- access to physician assisted suicide.

  • They oppose ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by almost every country in the world. The only two exceptions are Somalia -- which does not have a functioning national government -- and the U.S. The Convention grants persons under the age of 18 certain rights related to religious freedom, freedom of belief, etc.

  • They support raising the age of consent for sex to 18 years. In practice, the average age at which North American youths become sexually active is 15 or 16.

  • They favor legislation to prohibit all pornography including virtual pornography. Unfortunately, they do not define what "pornography" is.

  • They oppose the "... operation of sexually-oriented businesses." This would be an extension of existing Texas legislation that already prohibits the sale of sex toys to the public.

  • They oppose the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC. This doctrine would improve the freedom of speech of individuals and groups by granting them equal time to contradict bigoted statements on radio and TV.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "2010 State Republican Party Platform," Texas Tribune, undated, at: http://static.texastribune.org This is a PDF file.
  2. "Natural," Merriam-Webster dictionary, at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/

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Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2010-JUL-03
Last updated 2010-JUL-03
Author: B.A. Robinson
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