June 23, 2004
Diving off the platform

I haven't written anything yet about the state GOP's 2004 platform (PDF), partly because other people like Kevin Drum and the Burnt Orange Report guys were on top of it, and partly because some things just defy parody. There are a couple of things I've noticed recently that bear mentioning, though.

One, picked up by Vince and Byron, is this letter from the Anti-Defamation League to the state GOP about its stated disrespect for other religions.

We are writing to you today to express our dismay that similar to the Texas Republican Party's 2002 platform, the section of its 2004 platform entitled "Promoting Individual Freedom and Personal Safety" contains a sub-heading called "Christian Nation" which "affirms that the United States is a Christian nation." We are also deeply concerned by the platform's reference to "the myth of the separation of church and state."

On behalf of our constituency across the State of Texas, we are again deeply concerned by this statement. As our founding documents demonstrate, our nation is not based on any one particular faith. Rather, our nation is a democratic one, founded on the principles of pluralism and diversity, including protecting the rights of the individual.

America was founded on the belief that freedom of religion requires that the government take no official stance on, or participate in, religious activity or religion. In addition, our United States Constitution prohibits a state religion and forbids a religious test for holding public office.

We realize that the party platform also states that Americans have the right as individuals to "practice their faith free from persecution, intimidation, and violence." However, this sentiment in no way cures the error of labeling America a "Christian nation." In fact, such a choice might seem illusory if a state religion were declared and may indeed help to undermine the democratic fabric of our society.

Finally, the separation of church and state is no myth; rather it is a fundamental principle of our democracy.

As Byron notes, the story has been picked up by Reuters. Don't you think it would be interesting if some enterprising Washington reporter were to ask President Bush about this? Not that you should hold your breath in anticipation, of course.

Here's something I'll bet you didn't know. According to Jonathan Ichikawa, the state GOP apparently believes that homosexuality is disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Americans with Disabilities Act – The Party supports amendment of the Americans with Disabilities Act to exclude from its definition those persons with infectious diseases, substance addiction, learning disabilities, behavior disorders, homosexual practices and mental stress, thereby reducing abuse of the Act.

As Jonathan notes, the ADA specifically excludes homosexuality as a protected condition:

The current law is very clear on the matter. Here's 42 U.S.C. §12211(a) (on the books since 1990, the same as the rest of the ADA):

(a) Homosexuality and bisexuality.—For purposes of the definition of "disability" in section 12102(2) of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.

So why does the Texas GOP platform include REMOVING an item from the list that wasn't on it in the first place?

Good question. Anyone?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 23, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack


Conservative Christians have always maintained that homosexuality is a *choice* not an illness or something that's genetically determined (despite some studies to the contrary).

Given that we are "Baptist Nation" here in Texas, it's weird that the ruling party would put something in that would seem to affirm that it is an illness or something that's genetically determined.

I'm confused, but I'm sure there's an evil reason for it somewhere... ;)

Posted by: Mike in Austin on June 23, 2004 2:29 PM

I think that's the point. I think they think those "damn liberals" will "abuse" the policy by claiming disability for being gay. As if a liberal would classify it as such.

Wow, that whole thing is so depressing. It sure makes me that much happier that I'm living elsewhere now. I know not all of Texas is like that. But if the people RUNNING it could all get together and agree to the stuff you quoted, I'm glad I got the hell out.

Posted by: Amy on June 23, 2004 3:19 PM

My theory, which I state in the post Chuck linked, is that the platform section in question isn't really about homosexuality at all -- rather, it's really about the GOP effort to take learning disabilities off the list. The platform is aimed toward conservatives who already oppose homosexuals. For some reason, the GOP is trying to get the people who are already anti-gay to also be anti-retarded people by (dishonestly) grouping them together.

Why the GOP is against people with learning disabilities, I have no idea.

Posted by: Jonathan on June 23, 2004 4:58 PM

The wording is homosexual 'practices' which in theocrat-speak means HIV. People with AIDS/HIV are currently protected by ADA and you know that gets their panties into a huge self-righteous knot.

Posted by: Greg on June 23, 2004 6:01 PM

As a straight person who probably knows more gay people than average, thanks to my activities in the performing arts, I gasp at the hatefulness of the Texas GOP's platform position. If someone's disability is real... if someone is disabled by HIV, or disabled by retardation, or disabled by any other condition... why in the world should it matter, under the law, what their sexual orientation is, or what their mental status is? To argue otherwise is to espouse, not merely conservatism at its most uncompassionate, but radical fundamentalism at its hateful worst.

Let us try to hang this platform around Bush's neck like an albatross.

Posted by: Steve Bates on June 24, 2004 12:56 AM

I'm with Greg and Steve--that ADA business looks exactly like HIV/AIDS prejudice. After all, those awful hom'sexshuls brung it on themselves, you know.

Posted by: Greg Morrow on June 24, 2004 9:39 AM

If you choice not to use protection, have numerous partners, swap needles. Im just curious whose fault would it be.

Posted by: jhinson on July 21, 2004 9:50 PM

jhinson- if you chose to abstain from sex, never use needles, but got a communicable disease from a blood infusion, by helping a bleeding person with a disease, etc., would that still be your fault?

Besides, should we really be assigning fault here?

Posted by: TA on August 12, 2004 8:28 AM