Chris Busby is the vice president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Houston and has worked as a volunteer supporting the Republican Party for a number of years. Recently he made the decision to run for a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) vacancy in the Harris County Republican Party. Becoming a PCP is a simple and straightforward process: One fills out an application, submits it and then goes before the Vacancy Committee and answers basic questions related to qualifications and prior experience in volunteering for the party. The Harris County GOP has about 1,000 slots for PCPs, of which about 500 are currently filled. When Busby applied, he was confident that he would be given a vacant position. Approval for these slots are typically perfunctory. After all, what rational party would deny any qualified volunteer for a vacant position? Let's face it: The Republican Party needs people on the ground, and with 500 vacancies, they are typically begging people to join the process.
But that's not what happened. First, Busby's application was "lost" in the process. Then, when Busby was finally called up to be interviewed, it was noted that he was affiliated with Log Cabin Republicans, a gay Republican group. Committee member Terry Lowry was apparently so horrified by the thought of a gay Republican that he pulled out a hate pamphlet entitled "The Homosexual Agenda," which dates back to the 1970s. From it, he quoted excerpts pertaining to the repeal of age of consent laws, asking Busby if he agreed with this rhetoric from the 1970s that claims that gays are pedophiles and child molesters. Some people in the room later explained that the line of questioning was about baiting Chris to admit that he himself is a pedophile. One of the other committee members implied that the only reason that gays want to be part of the party is so that they can relax pedophilia laws. In an unprecedented way, Busby was denied an appointment by a 5-to-4 vote. Imagine bullying and harassing this fine young man and treating him in such a debasing way all because he is gay and wanted to volunteer to work as a PCP. This incident was brought to RNC chairman Reince Priebus' attention, but he and the RNC chose to remain silent.
Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is systemic within the ranks of the GOP. The good ol' boys are uncomfortable with anyone who isn't just like them, and as the gatekeepers to the order, they are free to keep things as they prefer, keeping out those who represent diversity. I too filled out a PCP application in Oregon, and I was told that they never received it, blaming "systems issues." I will continue to pursue this, although I am afraid that my application will meet the same disgusting results as those of Busby.
Imagine if a member of another minority group applied for a vacancy and was given this sort of treatment, presenting old and hateful stereotypes. What action would Chairman Priebus take if a woman were asked if women are less intellectually qualified to hold political positions, or if a Jew were asked if Jews use the blood of Christian children for Passover rituals, or if an African American were asked if black men rape white women? And then imagine that these people's applications are denied because of this bigotry. These horrific questions are to members of these minority groups what the Harris County Republican Party's interrogation of Busby is to gays. Would Chairman Priebus allow those who would promulgate such hate to women, Jews, African Americans or other minorities? I don't know, and certainly Chairman Priebus' silence on this most recent incident may be indicative of how he might respond. For sure, he has not spoken up about Chris Busby. He has not insisted that the people who asked these pejorative questions be called out and removed from the party, and he has not demanded that the head of the state's GOP provide a formal apology. He remains silent, providing cover for those who promote hate.
If the GOP wants to maintain any level of credibility, three things need to happen:
- Chris Busby needs to be given a personal apology from the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, Steve Munisteri, and from the RNC leadership itself.
Anything less should be considered an endorsement by the Texas GOP and the RNC of the egregious behavior of the Harris County Republican Party.