Gay Conservatives Denied ‘Official’ Spot at Texas GOP Convention

From KUT in Austin I heard the following.

The Texas Republican Party has denied the Log Cabin Republicans a space at next week’s state convention. Log Cabin Republicans represent gay conservatives and supporters of marriage equality in the party.

Log Cabin Republican Executive Director Gregory Angelo says the state party denied the group’s application for a booth at the convention because, as homosexuals, they disagree with a plank in the party platform. The plank reads, in part, that “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.”

“It was our obligation to let the voters of Texas know and to let members of the Republican Party in Texas know that that language is in the party platform and it is being used to intentionally exclude gay Republicans from formal participation in the state GOP convention,” Angelo says.

A state party is not purely a private club.  We learned that early in the civil rights struggles for black Texans.  In Smith v. Allwright (1944), the Supreme Court ruled on a challenge to a 1923 Texas state law that had delegated authority to state conventions of political parties to make rules for their primaries. It ruled that the law violated the protections of the Constitution because the state allowed a discriminatory rule (no “negroes”) to be established by the Democratic Party.  However, homosexuals are not being excluded here per se – in fact, the Log Cabin Rs who were elected delegates will be in attendance and will be voting.  They will not be allowed a “booth”.

My own view of this bolded language in the Texas Republican platform is that it is wrong as a matter of fact and deeply prejudiced as a matter of practice. It is prejudiced as a matter of practice because no individual homosexual could be judged upon her own gifts and graces if her self-identification as a homosexual tears at the fabric of society.

The plank will not scare off any Rs in TX.  Those who disagree with it will think it is a low priority and those who agree with it will strongly approve.  There is a difference of enthusiasm here.

QB noted those of us who don’t think consenting private sexual conduct is a moral issue do so by reason of a libertarian slant.  He made the case that while he did not believe there should be legal consequences for CPA sex, same sex marriage was not itself private conduct.  This plank morally condemns private conduct and, I think, even status.  While codifying this moral condemnation into law is not a requisite, I think it would be a natural result, because it happened historically.

Imagine yourself on the platform committee of the Texas Republican Party.  Do you vote for or against this plank?  Do you argue for or against it, and if you do, do you argue on moral or political grounds?  Do you think it is an important plank or a throwaway?





Does Being Rich Make You Mean?

Playing Monopoly reveals the truth! Being wealthy makes you self-entitled, rude, and uncharitable!

Poor people are just nicer. But then, maybe that’s why their poor.

I feel skeptical. Not necessarily that all the data is wrong or cooked or perhaps not revelatory, and the tendency of human beings to attribute clearly “rigged” advantages in a situation to their own virtue or hard work is an objective truth (most of us, I suspect, have seen it all our lives).

But I just get the sense that the guy doing the presentation already has settled on his desired conclusions, and perhaps things are more complicated than the talk displays. For example, could it be that people who obtain wealth without work are ruder and less charitable, but those that work hard and are well-rewarded for their hard work are nicer and more charitable than your average non-wealthy person.

People in more expensive cars are more prone to break traffic laws or threaten pedestrians? I have a hard time believing that’s much more than coincidence.

Speaking of mean wealthy people . . . are gay people mean? They must be, if gay people are all rich!

Freakonomics takes on the myth of homosexuality = wealthy. Well, at least for gay men.

Hump Day Craziness

I read this yesterday and it lead me to some interesting questions.  Well, they were interesting to me anyway.  I’ve been fascinated with the different factions of the Republican Party and the increased number of Libertarians who primarily seem to vote Republican when there is no Libertarian around to vote for.  This piece mentions the possible break between Evangelical Christian Republicans and conservative Catholics over the new Pope’s recent comments regarding gays and poverty.  It appears to me that Libertarians have also broken with the Christian wing of the Republican Party over many social issues.   I’ve learned from our discussions here that Libertarians seem to be for both open borders and abortion, in some cases “on demand”, even I don’t believe in either of those suggestions, so is that to the left of me?

I guess I’m wondering where all this will eventually lead.  How hard will it be for Libertarians to vote for a Republican of the evangelical sort?  Is it just a case of voting for the lesser of two evils in a Presidential election, or even a local election?  When do your votes and principles collide?  I swallowed my objections and voted for Obama because of health care, and a couple of other accomplishments I supported,  rather than third party, which is what I normally do.  A big fat wasted vote either way really.

My thoughts rambled from the original piece but I wanted you guys to see how it got me thinking.  I’m finding it somewhat interesting that I tend to vote social issues and for the preservation of things such as Social Security, Medicare and other safety net protections.  There doesn’t seem to be that much difference to me in the reality of economic policy between the parties or for that matter even foreign policy now that many conservatives seem to be more isolationist than they were in the past, but I’m guessing the Libertarians/Conservatives here don’t agree and vote their pocket book, or is it all big vs small government and the demolition of the safety net that motivates y’all.  I’m curious.  It seems to me that the differences between us are more along the lines of priorities.  I think we all value similar things but just place more weight on some than others.  Or maybe I’m delusional.

I think it is a safe bet that if Pope Francis I lives more than a few years that Catholics will soon be kicked out of the Republican Party and resume their previous status as the semi-black race. The reason is simple. Pope Francis I is on the opposite side of the political divide from Pope John Paul II. The Polish pope was a Cold Warrior who basically took the Reagan-Thatcher line on left-leaning political movements in the Third World, including in Latin America. The Argentinian Jesuit pope isn’t a communist, but he advocates for the poor without any apology.

For now, conservative American Catholics are trying to parse the distinction, but it isn’t going to work. They are not going to be able to embrace The Slum Pope who wants to “make a mess” of the established order within the Church by encouraging young people to shake up the dioceses and force them to embrace the convicts, drug addicts, and the truly impoverished.

Our country is uniquely unable to appreciate this change specifically because our right wing succeeded in categorizing the left in the Third World (and, to an extent, even in Europe) as communist in sympathy. The right assumes that the Vatican is an ally in all things, but that is no longer even close to being the case. On so-called family values, the papacy is still reliably conservative, even if it can’t be counted on anymore to demonize homosexuality. But on economic issues, the papacy is now a dedicated enemy of the Republican Party.

Before long, the right will have no choice but to break from the pope, and then their opposition will grow to a point that the alliance between Catholics and evangelicals will not hold.

There sure has been a lot of talk lately about women.  I’ve been troubled by some of it as it seems we’re going backwards in some respects.  There are too many stories to link but between all the states enacting TRAP laws, all the strange definitions of rape, the mayor of San Diego’s bizarre harassment and who has and has not shielded him from investigation, the treatment of rape victims in the military,  USC redefining rape as not rape if there is no ejaculation (my personal favorite), who is and isn’t hot enough to either run for office or other more nefarious activities, etc. etc. that I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on.  Maybe nothing ever really changed.  I’m concerned that so much of it has become political football.  I thought this piece on the subtleties of how a woman can succeed in the financial industry was pretty troubling.

Our youngest is working in another male dominated industry and is constantly trying to determine how to proceed on her merits while most of the men are attracted to her looks.  She has a few male mentors who seem to take her seriously so she’s focusing on that and trying to stay away from the guys who want to date her and stay focused on her work.  She’s discovering it’s an interesting dynamic that has many challenges.  She faced numerous challenges as a grad student but that was nothing compared to what she’s dealing with now.

It doesn’t help when other women give this kind of advice.

New details have emerged from a bias lawsuit filed by three former employees of Merrill Lynch against the company, which alleges that during training they were instructed to read a book called “Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top” and emulate its advice.

The tips in the book, published by New York Magazine’s The Cut, are truly shocking. “I play on [men’s] masculine pride and natural instincts to protect the weaker sex,” says a section of the book advising women on how to get men to do their work. “Unless he is morbidly obese, there is no man on earth who won’t puff up at this sentence: Wow, you look great. Been working out?” suggests a portion on diffusing tense situations.

On a lighter note the Anthony Weiner story is in another realm altogether in my opinion.  I guess I’d like to know why his wife is standing by him but it’s none of my business really.  Otherwise it seems to be a case of “consenting adults” which doesn’t bode well for his marriage or his candidacy but otherwise is just more creepily entertaining than anything else.

I wish I could share all the “Carlos Danger” jokes my husband has come up with, they’re hysterical, and just pop out of his mouth at the most inconvenient times.  He’s a true comic and I’ve thanked my lucky stars more than once that he makes me laugh.  Anyway we’ve had a lot of fun at Anthony Weiner’s expense around here.  I saw this and couldn’t resist.

Anthony Weiner Forever

Weiner forever

How Different Are Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same Sex Relationships? Comment on a study

The starting point for this thread is a comment written by QB on the gay marriage thread. To quote: “Recently a study came out, greeted by a firestorm from the left, refuting claims that children do equally well raised by either a mother and father or by same-sex couples.

I presume that QB is referring to M. Regnerus, “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study”, Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752 – 7750. As my institution has a subscription to Elsevier journals, I was able to download the original article. This is copyrighted material, so I cannot post it in full here. I think it’s fair use to post the abstract as Harvard does that.


The New Family Structures Study (NFSS) is a social-science data-collection project that fielded a survey to a large, random sample of American young adults (ages 18–39) who were raised in different types of family arrangements. In this debut article of the NFSS, I compare how the young-adult children of a parent who has had a same-sex romantic rela- tionship fare on 40 different social, emotional, and relational outcome variables when com- pared with six other family-of-origin types. The results reveal numerous, consistent differences, especially between the children of women who have had a lesbian relationship and those with still-married (heterosexual) biological parents. The results are typically robust in multivariate contexts as well, suggesting far greater diversity in lesbian-parent household experiences than convenience-sample studies of lesbian families have revealed. The NFSS proves to be an illuminating, versatile dataset that can assist family scholars in understanding the long reach of family structure and transitions.

This is an excellent example of something worth addressing in greater detail. That is, a non-specialist citing current research. [Edit. I recognize this post is doing exactly the same thing. I can drill down a bit further and have familiarity with the publishing process, so have attempted to discuss it in those terms.] One paper cannot simply refute such claims. Then again, the author doesn’t attempt to do so in this paper. Regnerus does raise some interesting questions.

In my science post some time ago, I discussed the pecking order of journals. SSR has an impact factor of 1.57, a bit on the low side. The author’s decision to submit to SSR rather than a higher profile journal may indicate anticipation of a backlash or that he had trouble getting it into a more highly cited journal such as American Sociological Review (3.7). Elsevier is a highly regarded publisher, so he didn’t just put it in a fly by night journal. The paper was accepted within 4 weeks of being submitted. Also, it usually takes an editor a week or two to assign a paper and get a referee to review it. I seriously doubt this paper had more than a cursory review. That doesn’t mean it’s bad research, but it raises a caution flag when it comes to drawing sweeping conclusions.

There are some legitimate questions that can be raised about this study. Principle among these is false equivalence. The comparison is between “intact biological families” (IBFs) and children who report a parent as having a same sex relationship. These are not directly equivalent. As a classic example, a case where a father comes out of the closet and divorces the mother. A better comparison would be with a failed, heterosexual marriage. The author concedes this point. Quoting from the paper: “Child outcomes in stable, ‘‘planned’’ GLB families and those that are the product of previous heterosexual unions are quite likely distinctive, as previous studies’ conclusions would suggest.” He did not attempt to draw this direct parallel or control for other factors (see below). He does make a strong point in that other opposite sex relationships (step parent, cohabitating) fail to achieve the same outcome as IBFs.

Much of the paper is a data dump. It’s useful as a starting point, but drawing conclusions is challenging. There’s a few oddities. For example, only 61% of children with a lesbian mother identify as heterosexual and 71% of children with a gay father. Only 82% of children of non-IBF or non-GLB parents identify as entirely heterosexual. [Note: this is adoptive, step, single parent or other.] Those are far higher numbers than generally accepted (probably 3% – 5%). Are we talking bi-curious? Having had a same sex encounter at some point? I’m a little suspicious. I don’t know if there’s some sample bias (the author worked very hard to get a large sample size, by the way) or something else is operative. If truly a random sample, a tenfold increase suggests a biological connection or there may be issues with the sample. I’d be interested in seeing how those numbers compare for children in which the parent with custody is homosexual.

Another number. 23% of respondents with a lesbian mother report having been sexually touched by a parent or other adult. This compares with 2% for children of IBFs. Contrast this with the overall estimation for the population of 10% or more. I’d like to see how this particular study compares with other studies, independent of the sexuality of the parent. Heck, 69% of children of lesbian mothers report having been on welfare. There’s some really surprising data there, but no follow through. I don’t think the author performed adequate control checks on his sample. That’s probably an issue of resources.

I’m not questioning the accuracy of Regnerus’s reporting, but rather the depth of the study. Overall, this is interesting work, but far from conclusive. The author makes a strong point that studies need to be performed with larger sample sizes. It does open the prospect to me that there may be statistically different outcomes between a planned GLB family and an IBF.

There are also some strong points for proponents of gay marriage in the study. Regnerus cites previous research that outcomes are better for children of a married, heterosexual couple than for cohabiting couples. I quote from the introduction:

“Social scientists of family transitions have until recently commonly noted the elevated stability and social benefits of the two-parent (heterosexual) married household, when contrasted to single mothers, cohabiting couples, adoptive parents, and ex-spouses sharing custody (Brown, 2004; Manning et al., 2004; McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994).”

Those opposing same sex marriage should consider this point. Opposing it apparently condemns children of those relationships to inferior outcomes, to the detriment of society. I suspect there will be interesting research in the decades to come, particularly when it comes to the outcomes of children of married gay or lesbian parents as opposed to those who can only cohabit due to the laws of their state.


Eye on the Courts

The Sixth Circuit recently heard oral arguments on an interesting “free exercise” case. However, the case also addresses free speech issues and the role of counselor among other thought provoking issues. As a liberal lawyer who was raised in an evangelical home and is now a practicing Catholic (there’s a joke in there somewhere) and since I know one of the lawyers involved in the case, I find the case very interesting. The basic facts are that a student, Julea Ward, enrolled in the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University and subsequently refused to talk with patients about their homosexual feelings. Ms. Ward was dismissed from the program and subsequently sued the University. The District Court granted Summary Judgment to the University, and Ward filed an appeal with the 6th Circuit who heard oral arguments in early October. A decision is expected some time in November.

Not to wade too deeply into the factual weeds, but the University’s program is accredited by the American Counseling Association and must follow the ACA’s Code of Ethics. It is this Code of Ethics that Ms. Ward was accused of violating and which led to her dismissal. There are programs that aren’t accredited by the ACA where Ms. Ward could have attended and possibly avoided this conflict. However, since she hired an attorney 3 years before she was kicked out of the program, it seems that she was probably actively seeking out this fight. To be fair to Ms. Ward, there is literature that supports the notion that it is appropriate to refer clients to another counselor where your personal beliefs may cause a conflict. So it does seem that the ACA and the University’s position on the Code of Ethics is not without it’s holes.

I have a hard time seeing this as a violation of the free exercise clause, or any other Constitutional right for that matter. As the District Court pointed out, this was a narrowly constructed rule that applied only to counseling students and only when they are speaking with a client. It also seems aimed at preventing clients from feeling judged by their counselor.

An interesting side note to this is that the Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuette, filed a brief in support of Ms. Ward so he took a position contrary to the interests of a State University. On the other hand, the ACLU sided against the little guy and in favor of the big University. If the 6th Circuit upholds the District Court’s ruling, expect Ms. Ward to appeal to the SCOTUS. If the 6th Circuit reverses the District Court, there are several scenarios; appeal en banc, appeal to the SCOTUS, settlement, take a chance at trial.

If you have the time, here are the ACA’s amicus brief, Ms. Ward’s brief, the AG’s brief.

EMU has a site that links to several different briefs and opinions.

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