The Texas Republican Party, which last year adopted a platform endorsing "ex-gay" therapy, is apparently getting even more antigay, if that's possible -- it's just elected a chairman who can't stand to see members of the same sex kissing.
The party Saturday chose Amarillo businessman Tom Mechler, its treasurer since 2010, to succeed Steve Munisteri, who resigned to become a senior adviser to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign, reports The Texas Observer.
Mechler last year wrote a column for his local newspaper, the Amarillo Globe-News, saying that if the paper "ever publishes a picture of two men or two women kissing each other, I will cancel my subscription."
The occasion for his column was a controversy over family memberships at a health club, the Amarillo Town Club. It had denied a family membership to a same-sex couple, who then organized a petition drive to make such memberships available to all types of families.
Mechler objected to the coverage of the matter, noting that the Globe-News carried a "front-page article showing a picture of two angry-looking homosexual women" and that a letter to the editor called the club's membership policy "shameful."
"Shameful? Sometimes I feel like we are living in the twilight zone," Mechler wrote, then went on to say LGBT people and their allies are engaged in an "incredible attack that has been launched on free speech."
"If you say you believe in the biblical definition of marriage (which I do), or if you express an opinion that liberals determine as being politically incorrect, they will attack you -- sometimes viciously -- frequently making threats against your life and property," he wrote. "They call your comments and thoughts homophobic or hate speech."
Jumping from one subject to another, his column also attacked California officials who refused to defend Proposition 8 and said U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself from the case because he's gay. He then closed with the subscription-canceling threat.
The Observer reports that the selection for party chair could have been worse: One of those considered, Jared Woodfill, is suing the city of Houston over its LGBT rights ordinance. It also could have been better -- Dallas County Republican chair Wade Emmert has made some friendly overtures to gays, such as meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans.
Mechler has said he wants to improve Republican outreach to minorities, but the Observer notes, "It's questionable whether that includes gays -- at least if they want to get married or even just lock lips."