One of the leaders of the campaign to repeal the LGBT-inclusive Houston Equal Rights Ordinance now wants the Texas Republican Party to move its convention from Dallas, which has enacted a similar law.
The Dallas City Council this week clarified the city's nondiscrimination ordinance by explicitly banning discrimination based on gender identity. Dallas's long-standing ban on sexual orientation discrimination had been interpreted to cover gender identity, but activists pointed out the difference between the two characteristics and worked with the city to update the law.
But right-wing activist Jared Woodfill, using the same tactics that helped lead voters to rescind the Houston ordinance, is calling the Dallas measure "an aggressive and dangerous bathroom ordinance that allows men into women's bathrooms" and urging the Texas GOP to find a different location for its 2016 convention, set for May 12-14 in Dallas.
In an email to his supporters, posted on his website and linked by Towleroad, Woodfill offers the same false information about the Dallas ordinance that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has, saying it was adopted in closed session without public input. Woodfill also calls it "a threat to safety and freedom," claiming it will facilitate sexual predators' access to women's restrooms and locker rooms -- a totally discredited argument.
"We as a Republican Party now have an opportunity to send a message to the Mayor of Dallas and its City Council who are willing to sacrifice the safety of our wives, daughters and mothers on the altar of political correctness," Woodfill writes. "We as a Republican Party have an opportunity to send a loud and clear message to the radical left by moving our 2016 Republican Party of Texas Convention from Dallas to another city. We should not reward Dallas with our business when its leaders brazenly reject the principles embodied in our 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform."
That platform endorses so-called reparative therapy, designed to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity; says "homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle"; and defines marriage as "a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman."
Woodfill, an attorney, also made news this week in a report that despite raising the specter of male predators in women's bathrooms as a reason to oppose equal rights for transgender people, he is representing a man being sued for clandestinely photographing women changing during a pool party. He also voiced opposition to Houston Mayor Annise Parker's efforts to bring back her city's ordinance and said 300,000 calls have gone out to mobilize resistance to reviving the law.