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Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Open Letter to RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri:

Our country currently faces critical challenges that compel us to work together as Americans. The American people rightly will not tolerate those who seek to divide us and further their own misguided or selfish political purposes. And that's exactly what the platform of the Texas Republican Party aims to do.

We call on you both to forcefully reject this platform of division and bigotry and instead craft a new one that unifies Americans around the core principles of democracy. The country is watching to see if you will continue to align yourself with divisive tactics that do nothing more than marginalize people or if instead you will commit yourself to one America; free of the hate, bigotry and prejudice found in the Texas GOP platform.
Our sincere hope is that the document was drafted without your approval. While largely objectionable in its entirety, some specifics tenets are so egregious that they deserve to be called out:

•          Eliminating the Endangered Species Act
•          Rescinding no-fault divorce laws and supporting “covenant marriage”
•          Eliminating future and repealing past presidential executive orders
•          Opposing making the District of Columbia a state, leaving tens of thousands of U.S. citizens to pay government taxes without the benefit of a voting representative
•          Making every driver’s license indicate citizenship status
•          Opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of a belief that it affirms “sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”
•          Opposing governmental action to restrict the public display of the Ten Commandments
•          Making the issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple a felony to include the civil official that would perform the marriage
•          Stating that homosexuality “tears at the fabric of our society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”
•          Recriminalizing sodomy statutes in spite of a landmark Supreme Court case that settled the issue a decade ago
•          Overturning Roe v. Wade and passing a "human life amendment" to the Constitution, a proposal that would make abortion illegal in all cases and criminalize most common forms of birth control
•          Eliminating those with HIV/AIDS, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and mental stress disorders from the Americans with Disabilities Act
•          Opposing any sex education “other than abstinence until heterosexual marriage,” a strategy that has proven to be ineffective and that ignores the health concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young adults
•          Urging Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom and the Bill of Rights
•          Calling for no bilingual education after the third grade
•          Eliminating laws that require healthcare facilities to treat undocumented human beings

The undersigned are a broad cross-section of nonpartisan organizations that work every day to secure justice for and improve the lives of all Americans. We find it unacceptable that one of our two political parties would espouse beliefs that threaten the safety and security of countless Americans by advocating positions that are wrong and unjust.

Chairman Steele, since the Texas platform was adopted, more state Republican parties have inappropriately jumped on this misguided bandwagon. On June 19th, the Montana GOP adopted their platform which includes the following provision: “We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.” This past Friday, a panel of GOP delegates in Idaho adopted the language “naturally born man and woman” to define marriage.

We urge you both to reject the Texas Republican Party platform immediately and to stop these divisive politics that marginalize and criminalize anyone who is not of the assumed majority view. Basic human dignity demands that the Texas GOP go back to the drawing board to create a platform that is inclusive of the values of fairness and justice for all.
Will you stand with us?

Equality Federation
Equality Maryland
Equality Pennsylvania
Equality Texas
Human Rights Campaign
League of United Latin American Citizens
Love Makes a Family Political Action Committee (Connecticut)
National Black Justice Coalition
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
PROMO (Missouri)
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund

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