Wednesday, December 18, 2013

HCRP gets TRO on same-sex benefits

Double your outrage.

Harris County Republicans, led by their chairman, sued the City of Houston Tuesday over Mayor Annise Parker's extension of health and life insurance benefits to all spouses of legally married employees, including same-sex couples in November.

"This is one of the most egregious acts by an elected official I've ever seen," said Jared Woodfill, chairman the Harris County Republican party. Woodfill, is the lead lawyer on the lawsuit. "They just decided to, unilaterally, as a lame duck, thumb their nose at the will of the people and just spit on the U.S. Constitution."

Woodfill said state District Judge Lisa Millard signed a temporary restraining order late Tuesday, putting the new policy on hold until the matter goes before a judge on Jan. 6.

As Noah has pointed out, Harris County Democrats failed to field a challenger to Judge Millard for next year.  We can only guess as to whether her actions would have been different if they had.  And let's disregard the hyperbolic and misrepresentative exaggeration that Barrister Woodfill, like so many of his conservative ilk, employs.

Noah's best point, one that deserves repeating, is that the GOP is still going to lose next year, irrespective (mostly) of what the Democrats do or don't do, because of stunts like this lawsuit.

This predictable action by the Harris County Republican Party is just helping to dig its own grave. The Republicans have very weak competition in this county, as it simply campaigns against a party that -- despite being lead by venerable forces -- is filled with members too incompetent/lazy to fill the ballot. Taking up such a disastrously unpopular position as homophobia does nothing to dispel the notion that Republicans are simply old and bigoted folks; in fact, it actively perpetuates it. If the Democrats win in 2014, it will be because of things like this.

Homophobia is a disease that's on the wane, and it is the growing acceptance and tolerance that all people are equal -- even by many long-time Republican voters -- that is the clearest signal yet that the Republican Party, as currently constituted, is a bunch of dead (straight, white) men walking.  2014 might bring their reign to a close, but my guess is that we'll still have a few soreheads to kick around in 2016.  It's a process that is happening organically, but Democrats would be wise to do what they can to fertlilize the composting.  Maybe squirt some lighter fluid on the immolation.

Just don't get too close to them as they self-destruct.  Those stains are hard to get out.

Update: Jeff Balke at Hair Balls piles on.

This is a classic example of someone (or some group) not knowing when to let go of a particular issue and simply move on. A majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court has upheld multiple challenges to state laws allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot. It's only a matter of time before states like Texas will have to come to the same conclusion most other states have: if homosexual couples want to marry, they should have every right to do so, and preventing them from obtaining the benefits heterosexual couples have is a violation of the Constitution Woodfill is so hungry to defend.

The other question that keeps running through my head is, "Why do you care?" What difference does it make to Woodfill or any member of the local GOP if people they clearly don't associate with have an opportunity to share in the same rights as they do? Same-sex partner benefits are provided by most American corporations already. For a group that is hell bent on protecting individual rights, it sure seems this flies directly in the face of that ideal.

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