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Chad’s Morning Brief: Gay Rights Group Claim Discrimination by Texas GOP, Children Swarming the Southern Border, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 30, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Important Election Dates:

Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 21

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Gay Groups Claim Discrimination

According to the Star-Telegram two groups are accusing the Texas GOP of discrimination because according to them, they are not allowed to set-up booths at the Texas Republican convention due to their sexual orientation.

Two Republican gay rights groups said Thursday that they have been discriminated against and denied the chance to set up booths at the party’s state convention next week because of their sexual orientation.

The Metroplex Republicans and Log Cabin Republicans are calling on state GOP officials to change their minds about the booths, remove anti-gay wording from the party platform and attend a meeting with them before the city’s Human Relations Commission to discuss those issues.

“We are feeling like we are definitely being excluded,” said Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the Metroplex Republicans, during a press conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center. “This is bad politics.”

The Republican state convention will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center Thursday through Saturday.

Party officials said they are upholding a longstanding policy that doesn’t allow booths to be set up by people who advocate positions starkly different from major platform positions.

Booths have been denied through the years to supporters of issues such as gambling, marijuana legalization and gay marriage.

“There’s a process to policies,” said Steve Munisteri, who chairs the Republican Party of Texas. “These aren’t arbitrary decisions.”

And the platform — an outline of the party’s beliefs that candidates do not always follow — is written and voted on by delegates to the state convention.

But Munisteri said all Republican of all beliefs are welcome at the convention.

Some just can’t set up booths.

“They are free to participate as delegates, advocate any position they’d like and hand out any material they’d like,” he said. “They will be treated kindly.”

Texas Democrats on Thursday invited the gay rights groups to set up booths at their convention, which will be June 26-28 in Dallas.

“We celebrate the diversity of our party,” said William Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “That is what our state convention is all about.”

Booth policy

Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis said members of the group have found “incredible” support within the Republican party as it evolves on gay-rights issues.

“However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall,” he said. “We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it’s time that the Texas GOP’s hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters.”

Munisteri said that when he became chair of the party in 2010, an informal policy was already in place that didn’t let groups opposing major issues in the platform set up tables at the state convention. He asked for reviews of that and other policies. The committee decided the rule should stay.

“Numerous applications have been denied,” Munisteri said.

The issue is not new. Gay-rights groups have been denied booths through the years and the Log Cabin Republicans filed a lawsuit in 1996 challenging the GOP’s decision that year.

The Texas Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the party was within its rights to deny the group the booth. While the group alleged that the state party infringed on its free speech and equal rights, the court ruled that the GOP’s decision was “mere internal party affairs.”

Party platform

Oeftering, of the conservative gay group that split from the Log Cabin Republicans in recent years, also called on party leaders to change the wording in the platform regarding homosexuality.

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform states that “the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit.”

It says homosexual behavior is “contrary” to the “truths that have been ordained by God … and shared by the majority of Texans.”

“Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle, in public policy, nor should ‘family’ be redefined to include homosexual ‘couples,’ ” according to the platform. “We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.”

Michael Cargill, a Log Cabin Republicans of Austin board member and owner of Central Texas Gun Works, said it’s time for the party to make a change.

“As long as I have supported the Republican Party, the party has refused to support me,” he said. “We are outcasts by our own party.”

Sound like the two groups were looking for a fight. They knew the rules but they still want to complain about them. However, I really don’t see a problem with allowing the group to have a booth. Just because it’s a rule doesn’t mean it is a good rule.

Children Swarm the Border

The Washington Times is reporting that the Obama administration’s immigration policy is being out to the test as 60,000 children could cross the southern border this year.

Children traveling without their families, including an “overwhelming” number younger than 12, are flooding across the southwestern border in the latest test of the Obama administration’s immigration policy.

Homeland Security Officials predict that 60,000 minors will cross the border this year and that the number will double next year, accounting for an astonishing percentage of people trying to jump the border — braving the tremendous perils of crossing Mexico and trying to evade border authorities, hoping to eventually connect with family in the U.S.

The administration seems powerless to stop most of the border breaches and instead has searched for ways to manage the flow of vulnerable, and politically sympathetic, immigrants.

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will raise the issue with Congress. He will recount his trip this month to the border in Texas, where he saw such children, which the government calls “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs.

“I have been closely following this emerging issue since coming into office, with a particular focus on the Rio Grande Valley,” Mr. Johnson will tell the House, according to his prepared testimony. “I traveled to McAllen, Texas, to view the situation and saw the children there firsthand — an overwhelming number of whom were under 12 years old.”

Officials are grappling with how the U.S. should handle children inside the border and whether there is any way to stop the flow.

Under U.S. law, the children are entitled to special protections and can’t be put straight into deportation proceedings, as adults are.

Instead, they are screened for trafficking concerns. Once processed, they are placed with either foster families or sent to their own families in the U.S. while they apply for asylum or a special juvenile visa, said Marc R. Rosenblum, deputy director of the Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. immigration policy program.

“Those policies make a lot of sense because these are a vulnerable population,” he said.

In some cases, Homeland Security officials are sending the children to be with their parents — even when those parents are known to be living in the U.S. illegally. A federal judge in Texas blasted the department for that practice late last year, saying the government essentially had become complicit in criminal activity.

“The DHS is rewarding criminal conduct instead of enforcing the current laws. More troubling, the DHS is encouraging parents to seriously jeopardize the safety of their children,” Judge Andrew S. Hanen wrote in a court order.

The children are chiefly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and have to cross through Mexico, braving the elements and smugglers to eventually arrive at the border in Texas, where they generally try to cross. Reports of rape are common among the girls.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees released a study this year that surveyed more than 400 of the children as they arrived in the U.S. and found nearly half of them were fleeing drug cartels or gangs in their home countries. Still others were fleeing abusive homes.

“I am here because the gang threatened me,” one 15-year-old girl from El Salvador, identified only as Maritza, told the UNHCR investigators. “One of them ‘liked’ me. Another gang member told my uncle that he should get me out of there because the guy who liked me was going to do me harm. In El Salvador they take young girls, rape them and throw them in plastic bags.”

The number of unaccompanied children has spiked even in the past few weeks, said Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron, who said the rise has strained her department and the Department of Health and Human Services, which under the law is responsible for caring for the children.

This is a very dangerous situation and a scary one for those kids. It could be argued that the Obama administration brought this on themselves.

Other Top Stories:

KFYO Job Openings

Jesus Tattoo Denied

Houston’s Transgender  Policy

TIME Declares Transgender Issues Next Civil Rights Push

Houston Passes Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Dan Patrick Changes Tone

Straus Preps for Session

Lieutenant Governor’s Race Could Be Main Event

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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