FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Texas Republicans gathering in Fort Worth are all abuzz. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend.
As the state convention kicks into high gear, there’s controversy over the GOP platform’s language on homosexuality.
The party denied Log Cabin Republicans and Metroplex Republicans, a different group of gay conservatives from setting up a booth here.
One member of the Metroplex Republicans, Rudy Oeftering, said, “I would have loved to have been in here [with a booth]. As Metroplex and Log Cabin Republicans, we want to tell people gay Republicans are really Republicans.”
But Cathie Adams of the socially conservative group Texas Eagle Forum said, “I think our platform is very fair. It’s traditional.”
According to Adams, homosexuals are welcome in the party and at the convention. But that offer changes she says, “When they’re pushing an agenda that’s different — that really is going a step further. It’s okay if you don’t agree with everything. But it’s not okay to say, ‘it’s all about me. Everyone else has to stand up and take notice I’m special.’”
Oeftering is optimistic after he says a platform subcommittee stripped language from the platform that said, “…The practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of our society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders and shared by the majority…”
“We’ve gotten nothing but support from the rank and file,” Oeftering said. “We sense a real change afoot in the Republican party. We think it’s a shrinking group within the party, that’s held power within the party for a very long time that just needs to catch up on this critical issue.”
The full GOP platform committee will vote Friday, before delegates consider the platform Saturday.
University of Texas at Arlington political science professor Allan Saxe believes Republicans must avoid fighting over smaller issues, and focus on winning state and federal offices.
“They have to keep the eyes on the prize,” he said. “The Governor’s office, after that, the U.S. Senate, keeping the U.S. House of Representatives, and after that the Presidency.”
Saxe believes Republicans will maintain a lock on all statewide races this year. “But they have to do it in a way that solidifies the Republican Party and really bring more people over to the Republican Party. The eyes of the nation are going to be watching what Texas does.”
On Thursday, the party will pay tribute to Governor Rick Perry, who will also address delegates.
The Republican nominee for Texas Land Commissioner, George P. Bush, will also speak before the crowd Thursday.
On Friday, Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul will be the key speakers along with the Republican nominee for Governor, Greg Abbott.
One of the more anticipated events at the convention will be the Presidential Straw Poll. Among the 14 candidates people can select are Governor Perry, Senators Cruz, Paul, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Numerous other Governors are on the list too: former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, John Kasich of Ohio, Mike Pence of Indiana, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
Former Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is also included in the straw poll, along with Dr. Ben Carson, and Steve King.
Results will be announced Saturday.