Texas’ Top Anti-Gay Lobbyist Possibly Motivated by Personal Vendetta

Texas is known for being a Conservative state, but recent moves against the LGBT community have seemed to defy Conservative principles, and look more like open discrimination.  There may be a common connection for why GOP lawmakers are ramping up the hate rhetoric.  Here’s the story from Lone Star Q

Mere months before Jonathan Saenz became president of the anti-gay group Texas Values, his wife left him for another woman, according to Hays County district court records obtained by Lone Star Q.

The revelation could help explain Saenz’s seemingly abrupt transformation from socially conservative lobbyist to homophobic firebrand.

Saenz, a devout Catholic, has been a right-wing operative in Texas for many years — working on abortion and religious liberty cases as a staff attorney for the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute as far back as 2005.

However, it wasn’t until recently that Saenz emerged as one of the state’s best-known — and most extreme — anti-LGBT voices.

Court records indicate that Saenz’s ex-wife […] is a member of the LGBT community who was dating another woman when she filed for divorce from Saenz in August 2011.

In early 2012, with their divorce still pending, Saenz would take the helm of Texas Values after the organization spun off from the Liberty Legal Institute, where he’d risen to chief lobbyist.

With Saenz as president, Texas Values has led the charge against not only same-sex marriage, but also passage of LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in San Antonio and Houston. In fighting the ordinances, Saenz has often repeated the debunked right-wing myth that sexual predators would use the laws to prey on women and children in bathrooms.

Saenz helped push an amendment to the 2014 Texas GOP platform endorsing the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy. In media interviews, Saenz has stated that same-sex marriagewill lead to polygamy and people marrying their stepchildren, and suggested that gay activists want to put Christians in concentration camps. Last week, Texas Values filed an amicus curiae brief calling on a federal appeals court to overturn a district judge’s decision striking down the state’s marriage bans.

The information obtained by Lone Star Q is public record, as any divorce decree would be.  John Wright, the author of the article and editor of Lone Star Q, has received criticism for revealing such personal details about Saenz’s family, especially in regard to the naming of the activist’s wife, and the former couple’s children.  Though I salute the work done by Wright on this story, I too believe that it is never acceptable to involve innocent family members in the matter, as they cannot and should not be held responsible for actions solely attributed to Mr. Saenz.  Texas Leftist has chosen to redact names where appropriate.

But for the issue at hand, this research is proving an important piece to understand the possible motivations behind Saenz’s work, and the drastic turn he and his Texas Values organization have taken against Texans. If someone’s personal event causes such a behavioral shift that it leads them to persecute an entire community, that community then has the right to defend itself by exposing knowledge of said events.  His personal vendetta, no matter how painful, cannot be used to harm people who have done nothing wrong.

And harm is what is being caused here.   The very same untruths that Jonathan Saenz fights for are the ones used to justify discrimination, bullying, gay bashing, and a whole host of other atrocities.  Texas is too great a state to continue to openly and proudly sanction these hate-filled beliefs. Hopefully this November, Texans will realize that they don’t have to listen to Jonathan Saenz, and instead choose to vote for politicians that stand on the side of equality.  

Wendy Davis Ad Attacks Abbott Over Rape Case, Gains Traction

The race for Texas Governor is about to enter the fast and furious season, with Democratic candidate Wendy Davis leading the charge.  In a new TV ad, she goes after Greg Abbott for deciding against the victim in a rape case.  Released just last Friday, the ad has already drawn major attention. Here’s more from the Dallas Morning News..

Wendy Davis on Tuesday defended her television campaign ad that decries a 1998 Texas Supreme Court decision when-then Greg Abbott sided against a rape victim in a liability case.

“His record demonstrates that he sided with a corporation against a victim of sexual assault,” Davis said during a news conference outside Dallas City Hall. “Texans deserve to know who is asking for the privilege of serving as their next governor.”

In 1993, a Seguin woman was raped by an independent vacuum salesman from Kirby Co., while her children were asleep in the next room. The victim sued Kirby for damages and won. And the Supreme Court eventually determined that she had that right. Abbott wrote a separate dissent, saying that an independent contractor hired the salesman and the Kirby had no duty to the victim under the circumstances of the case.

Abbott’s campaign has described the ad as “gutter politics.”

An interesting counter by the Abbott campaign, especially given his record of hanging out with child predator Ted Nugent and ardent anti-women actions as Attorney General.  Given the way he ruled in this case, is it any surprise that Abbott also showed such strong support for HB2 which closed down dozens of women’s health centers across the state?

In its short airtime, the ad has been getting some real traction, some of the best coverage Davis has received yet within the state, especially from local news stations and newspapers.  People are talking about Greg Abbott, and in this case, they don’t have many good things to say.

After receiving criticism even from supporters saying the campaign isn’t generating enough attention, Wendy Davis deserves kudos for launching an effective ad, and for leading the conversation on this issue. It’s also a reminder of how Davis got here in the first place, coming from Republican Senate district, beating a GOP incumbent in 2008, and then winning reelection in 2012. And all of that occurred long before ‘the people’s filibuster’. If she continues to lead the news cycle, and keeps up the historic campaign apparatus, she will win.

You can view the ad for yourself here…