Fort Worth group representing LGBTQ Republicans denied booth at Texas party convention

A Fort Worth organization representing LGBTQ Republicans wasn’t allowed to set up a booth at the Texas Republican Party Convention in Houston.

The Fort Worth Log Cabin Republicans is a new chapter of a national organization. The local group and the organization’s state affiliate were denied booths at the event that drew Republicans from across the state, a spokesperson for the party confirmed.

“I know that we need change in Texas party leadership, and there’s a small group of very loud people that are running this, but we will come back in two years and continue to fight forward,” said Jason Baldwin, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Fort Worth, after earlier saying he’s confident he’s in the right party.

The convention features dozens of booths promoting Republican groups and vendors. Organizations submit applications that are then reviewed and voted on by a committee of the state party.

Texas Republican Party Chair Matt Rinaldi was the deciding vote denying the application, Baldwin said. Rinaldi said he abstained from voting on the application for the state chapter and voted against the Fort Worth chapter’s application after a member of the committee died, to make sure the committee member’s vote was represented.

“I think they made the right decision based on our rule on booth approval,” Rinaldi said. “I think it’s inappropriate given the state of our nation right now for us to play sexual identity politics.”

The convention has featured statewide leaders who’ve rebuked gender-affirming care for transgender kids, celebrated legislation related to transgender student athletes and criticized drag queens.

The Log Cabin Republicans agree with the party on the large majority of issues and want to work with the party and help move it forward, Baldwin said. He questioned the appropriateness of bringing children to drag shows and said the group does not stand for “child modification” or giving children puberty blockers. One area where they differ is gay marriage, Baldwin said.

“I think what bothers me is, is that our group is being lumped in as, just because we identify as LGBT we somehow support all of that,” Baldwin said. “That would be the same notion that all white people support the KKK. It’s just not an accurate statement.”

Using “identity politics” or going against the party platform by supporting gay marriage as justification for denying the booth is a fallacy, Baldwin said. He pointed out that there are booths representing Republican women and gambling, the expansion of which was opposed in the 2020 platform. Delegates are set to finalize their 2022 platform Saturday.

“This is something to do with LGBT people and not so much with our state identity politics and/or being against the party platform,” Baldwin said.

The national organization of Log Cabin Republicans in a statement condemned the state chapter being excluded.

“It’s clear that inclusion wins, which makes the Texas Republican Party leadership’s decision to exclude the Texas Log Cabin Republicans from their convention not just narrow-minded, but politically short-sighted,” President Charles Moran said.

The denial also got pushback from Donald Trump Jr., the son of former President Donald Trump, according to a tweet from the group’s national chapter of a statement that was made to Breitbart.

“The Texas GOP should focus its energy on fighting back against the radical Democrats and weak RINOS... instead of canceling a group of gay conservatives who are standing in the beach with us,” Trump said.

The Texas group has requested a booth for years and been denied each time, according to a previous Star-Telegram report.

The Texas organization hosted a reception Friday that was on the program agenda.

The chair of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, Marco Roberts, resigned from the group in May, prior to the state committee’s vote to deny the booth application, because they “were on different paths.” He took exception with too much direction coming from the national organization to the state. Baldwin, who also serves on the state board, thanked Roberts for his service and said he supports the direction of the national chapter.

Roberts is now the state chairman for the Texas Conservative Liberty Forum, a new group focused on the preservation of First Amendment rights, such as “free speech, freedom of association, Judeo-Christian ethics, religious liberty, and current issues associated under the label of ‘GLBT,’ ‘LGBT,’ or related acronym.” The group has a booth at the convention.

His new group does support the Log Cabin Republicans getting a booth at the convention.

“It seems like the requirements to have a booth at the state convention seem to vary from group to group,” Roberts said.

Acting chair of the state chapter Michael Cargill, the owner of an Austin gun store, said that if Republicans want to grow the party they need to make sure everyone’s included. More important than the booth, is interacting with Republican voters, he said.

“Honestly, I don’t care about the booth,” he said. “I don’t like to work the booth, and I don’t think that’s where business is done. We block walk and that’s how we get Republicans elected. A booth at a convention to speak to the choir is not going to elect Republicans, but when you go knock on doors and you introduce yourself to the people, to the public, that is what’s going to elect Republicans.”

Cargill hopes to keep working with Rinaldi, who was reelected as chair during this week’s convention.

“It would behoove everyone to stand together as one party under the tent, so we can defend all of our constitutional rights,” Cargill said.