On the heels of their victory in Houston this month defeating a sweeping non-discrimination law that would have protected 15 different classes of people (including LGBT Houstonians), the hard-right, religious conservative leaders that railed against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance turned their sights toward Dallas.
Jared "no men in women's restrooms (unless they're my clients)" Woodfill, the former Harris County Republican Party Chair who helped mastermind the anti-HERO effort, sounded the alarm after Dallas City Council unanimously approved a slight tweak to their own HERO-like ordinance, passed in 2002, to ensure that transgender people in Dallas are protected under the law.
Along with pushing a petition to repeal the city's equal rights ordinance, Woodfill is now urging the state Republican party to move its 2016 convention out of Dallas and onto a city that's, well, less tolerant.
In a letter to supporters sent out Wednesday, Woodfill cites Dallas's efforts to appear more LGBT friendly in light of HERO's overwhelming failure at the polls in Houston. The LGBT website Towel Road highlighted some of the steps Dallas officials are taking earlier this month:
Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said last week he feared the repeal of HERO in Houston could hurt the entire state when it comes to booking national conventions. But Jones also said HERO’s defeat could allow Dallas — which recently launched an LGBT tourism campaign called “All Love is Big Love” — to lure conventions away from Houston. Jones even joked that the city’s new slogan was, “Dallas: Aren’t You Glad We’re Not Houston.”
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Clearly none of this sits well with Woodfill. As he writes in his letter to supporters:
By keeping our RPT Convention in Dallas, we are supporting the mentality embraced by Phillip Jones and the LGBT political movements attempt to take convention business from cities like Houston who believe men should not be allowed to enter women's restrooms. Why would we as a Republican Party embrace this agenda? Shouldn't we be taking a principled stand against it and moving our Republican dollars to a venue that respects our values and beliefs? ...
The current leadership of the Republican Party of Texas believes it is too hard to change the convention location. Without even trying to relocate the convention, they have given all the reasons they believe the convention cannot be relocated. I understand that moving a convention is not easy. However, it was not easy to collect approximately 55,000 signatures in thirty days to defeat the Houston Bathroom Ordinance. It was not easy to spend almost a year in litigation, going to the Texas Supreme Court twice, to earn the right to vote on the Houston Bathroom Ordinance. It was not easy to take on President Obama, Vice President Biden, Apple, GE, BASF, Sally Field, every major newspaper's editorial board and the numerous others who opposed us in Houston. It was not easy to fight the $5 million dollars poured into Houston from out of state LGBT interests. But I ask you, my friend, at what price do we hold our convictions dear? What cost would we bear to uphold our values and principles? Sometimes doing the right thing is hard.
Perhaps this is just Woodfill's ploy to stir up the base of his party before the convention. As we've written previously, his role as the crusader that defeated a lesbian mayor's cherished equal rights ordinance could make him a shoo-in for state GOP chair, a post he's sought in the past.
But considering the latest Republican Party of Texas platform urges authorities to treat porn like cocaine, embraces the barbaric practice of gay "reparative" therapy, and calls for gutting the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause, it's unclear where Woodfill thinks he can find a large city, even in Texas, that fully embraces the state GOP's "values and beliefs."