Texas GOP 'rebukes' Republicans working on gun deal, declares opposition to gay and trans people

BY APD NEWSJun 20,2022 at 11:48

The Texas Republican Party this weekend formally "rebuked" multiple GOP senators, including one of their own, for helping lead bipartisan negotiations on new gun legislation.

The resolution, adopted at the state's convention on Saturday in Houston, dismissed the Senate compromise announced last week that had the filibuster-proof support of at least 10 Republicans.

"We reject the so called 'bipartisan gun agreement,' and we rebuke Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham 1601 (R-S.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)," the resolution reads.

The party's admonishment reflects, in part, the difficulty of congressional action around guns, given some opposition in highly conservative circles. The state GOP's response followed Cornyn being booed, too, by the crowd while speaking at the convention on Friday.

Cornyn stepped up to help lead bipartisan negotiations around modest gun reforms following the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed. The bipartisan group of senators working on the legislation announced an initial agreed-upon framework on June 12 that would increase funding for school safety and mental health as well as require enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds and support "red flag" laws enacted by states.

The agreement did not include more sweeping restrictions backed by Democrats and President Joe Biden, like raising the legal buying age for assault-style weapons.

Work continues on final text of the bill, with leaders in the House and Senate vowing quick votes if Republicans remain onboard -- with hopes to bring text to the floor of the Senate this week.

Terry Harper, one of the members of the executive committee for Texas's GOP, voted against the resolution criticizing Cornyn and others -- and even tried to get it taken out -- though he is skeptical of the negotiations around a possible deal on guns.

"I don't always approve of what my elected officials do, but they are my elected officials. It's kind of like marriage. I've been married for 45 years, and we don't always agree, but we don't part the sheets over it," Harper told ABC News.

"It was all just a little harsh and embarrassing when they booed," Harper continued in a phone call with ABC News.

At Saturday's convention, the Texas GOP also added a series of positions on LGBTQ issues as part of their adopted platform and they officially continued to cast doubts on the validity of Biden's 2020 election victory, rooted in former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

The Log Cabin Republicans, a group representing the LGBTQ community in the Republican Party, was denied space for a booth at the event. (The group later shared a statement they said was from Donald Trump Jr. that criticized their exclusion.)

The state party's new platform as posted online as of Sunday states that "homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice" and that, as a party, "We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity." The party also said it opposed various medical treatments for transgender people who are 21 and younger including so-called "puberty blockers," hormone therapy and surgery.

The Texas GOP's latest position on the gay and transgender community comes as conservatives across the country have increasingly refocused on LGBTQ issues, particularly as they relate to children – including bans on transgender kids' medical care and discussions of sexuality and gender in classrooms.

The party's platform was quickly and widely criticized by LGBTQ advocates after it was adopted this weekend, with some saying it could herald broader discrimination.

Following the leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade, Biden argued the high court could next reduce protections for gay and transgender people or reverse other major precedents, such as the national guarantee to same-sex marriage. (The draft of that opinion shows the court majority insisting its ruling on abortion would not affect other cases.)

With its new platform, the Texas GOP also continued to push the narrative of a false 2020 election and said they did not believe Biden was legitimately elected -- despite any evidence and multiple recounts and audits in key battleground states.

Trump, as the party standard-bearer, has continued to assail the race he lost and promoted those who wish to overturn it, backing various local and state officials who could soon be in charge of overseeing the next elections.

During this month's ongoing Jan. 6 committee hearings in the House, testimony from multiple members of Trump's inner circle showed how they repeatedly rejected his claims in private, including former Attorney General Bill Barr.

An ABC News/Ipsos poll earlier this year found that 65 percent of Americans believed Biden was legitimately elected, though that number had sharp a partisan divide with nearly three-quarters of Republicans believing the opposite.

The final version of the Texas Republicans' platform will be posted in the coming days. Members voted on each part of the platform separately and votes are still being tallied, though staff with the state party told ABC News that no major changes are expected and it is rare for portions of the document to fail in the final vote. The rebuke of Cornyn was a resolution passed by voice vote.

(ABC)

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