Local hatemonger Steve Hotze has received one of the highest honors in the profession.
In its annual nationwide round-up of hate groups, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Houston's own Hotze one of the nation's premier haters, officially dubbing his political action committee, Conservative Republicans of Texas, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, as the Texas Observer first reported yesterday.
With this recent designation, Hotze's radical conservative group enters the rarified air of other Houston-based haters, like the local chapters of the Ku Klux Klan, the New Black Panthers and the neo-Confederate League of the South, plus the anti-Muslim group creatively called Stop The Islamization Of The World, which apparently isn't very successful considering it shares space on the same hate group list with Houston's Nation of Islam. According to the report, Texas had more hate groups in 2015 than any other state.
Hotze's group qualified for the law center's "General Hate" category after his stunning 2015 performance in "Campaign for Houston: No Women In Men's Bathrooms," in which Hotze appeared with rising (again) conservative star Jared Woodfill in the far right's crusade against Houston's proposed equal rights ordinance, which would have protected a wide range of citizens from discrimination in the workplace, in housing and at public businesses.
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Hotze & Co. used a fear campaign focused on the sanctity of restrooms to sway voters, and the ordinance was voted down in November, making Houston the only major city in the country without an equal rights ordinance. For Hotze, it was a crowning achievement atop a lifetime of extreme conservative activism. But he hasn't rested on his laurels since conquering the single-sex commode kingdom.
Perhaps in an effort to solidify his hate-star status among the Southern Poverty Law Center's researchers, Hotze and Woodfill have continued to entertain conservative crowds in a number of encore performances, as Woodfill takes his show on the road to gather support for his upcoming campaign for State GOP Chairman. As we've previously reported, Woodfill is traveling to half-empty churches across the state, trotting Hotze out like a trained seal so Hotze can consistently spout the kind of hateful rhetoric that put him on the law center's map in the first place.
Conservative Republicans of Texas did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email, but it's possible Hotze and Friends might not be too bummed about being placed on a civil rights group's naughty list. Just as they wear their role in defeating the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance as a badge of pride, maybe they'll actually show the Southern Poverty Law Center some love for recognizing their hatred.
Or maybe not. After all, haters gonna hate.