Remarks delivered by the chapter president Marco Roberts, at our annual 2019 Lincoln Day Dinner gala fundraiser.
I would like to borrow a few minutes of your time to talk to you about Log Cabin Republicans of Houston, about the special role Log Cabin Republicans of Houston can play, in major questions now at issue around the country, in our state, and also within our party, and our special responsibility to do so. And, about what I can now proudly say we have we have already done.
In short, I want to answer the question people often ask of me: why Log Cabin Republicans?
But, first, let tell you that his last year has been a banner year for our chapter, and for our fellow chapters across our great state.
1 – Platform Change
Under an initiative started by this chapter, we secured our 2+year goal at the Texas GOP state convention to change the party’s official stance on “homosexual behavior,” for the first time eliminating all flat, religious condemnation of gay people simply for being gay.
2- New Liberty Planks - LCR Houston members have authored two new planks that our now part of the official platform of the Republican Party of Texas, Planks 304 and 310, which defend liberty equally for everyone.
2 – Appointments to Texas GOP Platform Committee
At the same convention, your chapter’s president was the first LCR and openly gay member to serve on the Texas GOP Platform Committee, and then to the subcommittee of State Affairs , which had oversight to the Homosexual Behavior plank.
3 – National LCR Recognition
The national organization of LCR, which charters our chapter, gave our Texas chapters an award for the above accomplishments, specifically citing Houston’s leading role in this effort.
4 – Lincoln Dinner Record-Breaker
Our annual Lincoln Dinner with conservatives Congressman Ted Poe and City Councilman Mike Knox was another glitzy and record-breaking one in terms of attendance and funds raised.
5 – Top Fundraising Year
LCR Houston raised more money this year overall, leading to over $20,000 this year in our account; and LCR Houston was the leading contributor of funds to the LCR Texas Board that unites all the chapters in the state.
6 – Houston Chronicle Op-Ed
The Houston Chronicle published an op-ed piece on June 8, on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission SCOTUS decision that your chapter president had the honor to co-author with the former assistant solicitor general for the state of Texas.
7 – Highest Paid Membership
Our paid membership in 2018 was the highest we have ever had, doubling over the previous year, contributing to our added funds. (Note: Time to renew for 2019!)
8 – Mayoral Appointment
We secured LCR representation on the Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, the only Republican on this board.
9- new direct lines of communication with the top leadership of two of the most powerful conservative organizations in Texas.
9 – Local Party Appointment Firsts
For the first time, the Harris County Republican Party appointed its first declared LCR members to two precinct chair vacancies.
10 – Republican Star to Keynote 2019 Dinner!
Last, but not least, we secured the attendance as our keynote speaker for our 2019 Lincoln Dinner the most prominent rising luminary of the Republican Party: newly-elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw, of recent SNL fame. We are also honored that this is Crenshaw’s first declared commitment to any of kind of fundraising event this year.
How did we do it?
Let me tell you this: we did NOT do it by calling people bigots, or reducing any human being, not matter who it was or what they said, to vulgar epithet.
We did not do it by silencing people, threatening their businesses, or with any help from the Human Rights Campaign or Equality Texas whose budgets are also far larger than ours.
AND, most important, we did not do it by deceiving or misrepresenting to anyone what we stood for.
And, as a personal point, that I hope that I can say without any doubt from anyone here, or that I have encountered in my activism these last four years, that I have been transparent and truthful in my motives, my plans, and in everything I said I was going to do, and in everything I have done.
From the moment I was approached to run for president of this chapter over 3 years ago, and I was asked what I thought of HERO, to what I told the chairman of the 2018 Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Texas when he asked me what intended to do with the platform if I was appointed to State Affairs, I have been clear and upfront about what I believed and what I planned to do. People often think you cannot win in politics with the truth. I say you can.
Three years ago, I noted the ideological and political divide has been inarguably growing within our country, between the two main political parties – and how we Republicans have allowed the left to define the major social issues in contention, and to split us between those that agree with the big-government Democrat answers and those that simply oppose them. Meanwhile our party, and our country, all seem each day less able to address the many serious problems affecting our country in new, real, and very measurable ways, OR to resolve the dispute over what are legitimate rights of free expression, freedom of religion, and how to advance legitimate non-discrimination laws that do not infringe upon, purposely or not, on our First Amendment and property rights.
I said then that we had “to prepare NEW answers to the issues that are coming the party’s way, and are already here, and work with our fellow Republicans of all stripes, to help the party to proactively step out in front of these issues and define new, principled Constitutional answers to address them, rather than simply wait to have them defined for us by those who favor more government intrusive solutions.”
Let’s face it, when it comes to social issues, Republicans are always fighting a losing rear-guard action, usually ending up with more government mandates we don’t seem to know how to fight. Don’t you sometimes get the feeling that if it was put on us Republicans to defend the proposition that 2+2=4, we’d somehow find a way to lose that argument too? And yet, our success in forging our new Freedom First Republicans Coalition with the Texas Young Republicans and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas, and overcoming at the state the efforts of an opponent with easily 100 times our budget, shows there is a way.
And so, yes, we did take a new approach, and it has borne fruit.
In the final count, 2/3 of the members of the 2018 platform committee of the biggest Republican state party in the country, not to mention one of the most conservative, voted with us to remove all the condemnation language against gay people from our state platform. Not that you would know that from Outsmart. No, they were busy telling their readers that planks against euthanasia, abortion, and Airbnb regulations were proof of how Republicans were more anti “LGBT” than ever.
We won, and have gained new solid footing among libertarians and Republicans in Houston and in Texas because we have decided to truly join the party as partners in the shared common cause of liberty that goes back to the founding of our party - not as aggrieved members of a minority demographic group looking for redress only for own, but as Americans joining in the cause of a true American liberty shared equally by all.
Now, let’s be perfectly clear, there are those who define equality and progress in terms of government control of what you say, what you think, and what you do with talent and labor of your hands and mind.
But, folks, is it really an advance of equality to tell a young school girl in Palatine Illinois that she has no right to her own views of sexuality and propriety, and she must be forced by officials to undress in the presence of someone she grew up knowing as a boy all her life up until high school? Or, as the Obama administration directed, that only some individuals can determine the terms of sexual modesty, or what it means to be a man or woman, and the rest must abide without any say? A growing number of feminist, Muslim, and other minority rights advocates, including trans rights advocates, are asking, and saying ‘no.’
Is it an advance of liberty to strip a young couple of everything they worked for all their lives, their business and their livelihood, because they don’t want to violate their religious views on marriage that are 5,000 years old, and were shared by most Americans until just a few years ago? To say to people that the government will let you know when a human being may decline being put into labor for a cause or an idea they oppose? Some of the most prominent gay people in the country, like Guy Benson, and Andrew Sullivan, the father of the same-sex marriage movement, are begging us to not go down that path.
These are some of the many questions we must take on and answer with courage and with principle, with a view to defending liberty for all. For as many people know I like to say over and over again: you cannot defend liberty for yourself if you do not defend it for all. Folks, the true sun of liberty always shines in all directions.
And if sometimes this seems difficult to do, if our hearts sometimes fail us to defend and protect the liberty of those that oppose you, and maybe even hate you, in those times I like to remember the words of the greatest and most wonderful teacher in my life:
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you.
Let’s not so much demand from others as practice what we preach.
Let’s not look so much look for ways for others to bend to our will, but rather for how we can all be most free in our own will.
To my dear friends of faith, I hope that you and I can see together, that God does not need human laws to convince, much less coerce, human beings of His truth. His Word just needs the freedom to be heard, and it is a freedom I believe in and I am committed to defend, and one that I ask you join in securing here and everywhere. So that in America, let it be true always that when people bow and kneel before the words of Scripture or the mention God, or stand in respect for the beautiful waving symbol of our great union, that everyone know it is not because of some king or Congress, but always joyful act of our own free will.
Why Log Cabin Republicans?
Whether we are talking about the seemingly infinite number of Republican organizations advancing all sorts of different causes, or equally seemingly infinite so-called “LGBT” rights groups that all see advancing equality only thru the expansion of government roles into individual, private lives; among them all, Log Cabin is unique.
For at the center of the mission of the Log Cabin Republicans of Houston, and Texas, and above, is a notion that is a true arrow pointing to America’s founding ideals, and our party’s core beliefs of limited government and individual freedom; and it is really quite simple, if fundamental; and it is this:
When it comes to matters of the heart, of the adult individual human being choosing to partner with another in the most personal and intimate way in this life, there is no directive role for anyone else, not for government, not for corporations, or any other entity with coercive power. No, there is only the freedom of the individual to choose as he or she would choose. There is only the liberty of the human heart.
So, I want to say to you now that I am grateful for LCR and its mission, all the things everyone in this room has done, is doing, and will do, to advance that uniquely Log Cabin cause, and I am glad and deeply honored to, in some small way, be part of it.