Radnofsky pledges to stand for equality; incumbent Abbott has record of fighting LGBT rights
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Possibly no race in Texas this election cycle is as clear-cut about where the candidates stand on LGBT issues as is the attorney general’s race.
Neither Attorney General Greg Abbott nor anyone from his campaign returned calls seeking comment for this story. But Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Neerman agrees that the choice in this race is clear for those who vote primarily on LGBT issues. Still, he suggested looking at Attorney General Greg Abbott’s entire record.
Democratic challenger Barbara Ann Radnofsky stands by her positions on equality.
“I try to follow the Golden Rule,” Radnofsky said.
In other races, candidates run from the issue. Radnofsky was happy to talk about where she stands.
Radnofsky said she supports employment nondiscrimination legislation and she uses language on her website that is transgender-inclusive.
She said she would like to add gender identity and expression to the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act, the Texas penalty enhancement law that
applies to hate crimes committed in Texas.
Radnofsky said she would also like to see the legislature pass a law prohibiting discrimination against or harassment of LGBT students and teachers in Texas public schools.
Radnofsky campaign spokeswoman Katie Floyd said the candidate taught mediation for 15 years.
Radnofsky addressed another threat to gay and lesbian families that makes its way into legislative committees each session. She said that taking the best interests of the child into account, she supports guaranteeing foster and adoptive parenting rights to LGBT parents.
She would also like to provide domestic partner benefits to state employees and opposes any legislation that would prohibit private employers from offering those benefits.
On her website, Radnofsky also mentions supporting the Americans With Disabilities Act. While that doesn’t seem controversial, the Texas Republican Party platform calls for gays and lesbians to be excluded from protections guaranteed under the ADA.
Greg Abbott recently won an appeal of the Dallas same-sex divorce case. In enforcing the anti-marriage amendment passed in Texas in 2005, he appealed a lower court ruling that would have granted a divorce to a gay couple married in Massachusetts.
Abbott is equally clear on his website about his stand on marriage equality for gays and lesbians.
“Texas law defines marriage as an institution between one man and one woman,” his website claims. “Attorney General Abbott has fought efforts to undermine Texas’ law and the basic family structure in our state. He understands that traditional marriage is the cornerstone for a strong and stable family.”
But Abbott goes further defending opposite-sex marriage by claiming studies support his stand without citing any of those studies.
“A wealth of empirical data demonstrates the unmatched potency of the family to combat social ills, foster strong communities, and promote happier, healthier lives,” he claims in his official position statement.
Radnofsky, on the other hand, agrees with the ruling from the lower court in the same-sex divorce case.
“The Attorney General shouldn’t intervene in the non-violent, orderly wind-down of a relationship,” she said. “He should leave divorce orders to the proper court decision-making, and get back to work on the problems facing our state.
“Orderly divorce and family law allows the peaceful separation of the two disputants, property disposition, payment of taxes and debt, alimony, child support and custody,” Radnofsky said. “That’s the way civilized society is supposed to function. Ignoring or voiding an out-of-state marriage, suggested by the AG, is not a solution to these many issues and the need for courts to supervise peaceful, orderly solutions.”
Abbott lists his success in collecting more than $13 billion in child support payments as his top issue.
“He’s very strong on going after deadbeat fathers for child support,” Neerman said. “He fights for the interests of children.”
Neerman also mentioned Abbott’s record on prosecution of white-collar fraud and online data protection.
“He’s also been strong on fighting Internet predators,” Neerman said.
He mentioned a number of areas where Abbott has protected rights of Texans. On behalf of 31 states, Abbott fought the District of Columbia’s handgun law before the Supreme Court and won.
But on LGBT issues, he has worked against equality.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Erin Moore said, “Abbott’s been a henchman for Republicans for years.”
Moore called this one of the most important statewide races as far as LGBT rights are concerned.
“It’s one of the ones we’re keeping the keenest eye on,” she said. “He’s been malicious in his prosecution of LGBT rights. He’s got to go.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010