Texas Showdown: Log Cabin Versus Its (Former) Dallas President

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com October 14 2011 1:11 PM ET

The Log Cabin Republicans organization is shutting down a Texas chapter whose president recently defended discrimination against black people during a national radio interview that went off the rails.

The national group said it decommissioned its Dallas chapter because of its "leadership's established record of countering official positions long held by the Log Cabin Republicans such as our support for employment non-discrimination."

Robert Schlein, who was president of the defunct Dallas chapter, regularly writes op-eds for the Dallas Voice that cause a stir, and one such column got him to be a guest on the Michelangelo Signorile radio show in September. During the back-and-forth, somehow Schlein got on a train of logic that concluded this way:

"Texas is a right-to-work state. So as an employer, which I am, I can fire anybody at will," Schlein claimed.

"You cannot fire somebody for being African-American," Signorile objected.

"Well, I wouldn’t tell them," Schlein said.

"You wouldn’t tell them, but you’d do it anyway?" Signorile asked.

"I’d find a reason if I wanted to fire them," Schlein said, defending discrimination against black people while trying to prove an antidiscrimination law would make no difference to LGBT people.

The Log Cabin organization does not agree with that logic. It is actually "re-chartering" the Dallas chapter, which means it will reemerge with a new board. R. Clarke Cooper emphasized the importance of chapters, like one in New York that lobbied for marriage equality, but he told The Advocate that Schlein's statements didn't represent Log Cabin.

“When the leadership of one of our chapters chooses to undermine the credibility, effectiveness and mission of Log Cabin Republicans through their actions, we are forced to enact corrective measures for the good of the greater organization," he said via email. "It is unfortunate that the former leadership of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, particularly its president Rob Schlein, have engaged in a consistent pattern of behavior that detracts from the mission of our organization. After all due consideration and efforts at reconciliation, the Board of Directors have decided to begin anew, ensuring that our mission of fighting for freedom can be at its strongest in Dallas and across the country."

For his part, Schlein claims he's being pushed out for inviting the leaders of GOProud to speak at an upcoming event. GOProud is run by former members of Log Cabin who claim to be more conservative.

“We will continue to work on behalf of gay conservatives in Dallas, and the Grand Old Party dinner will go on,” Schlein told the Dallas Voice. “We are looking forward to putting on a great event with Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia as our guest speakers.”

The Voice reports that Schlein plans to launch his own group for gay Republicans, which he'll call Metroplex Republicans.