Texas Conservative Group Makes National Hate Org List

Steve Hotze of the Conservative Republicans of Texas
Christopher Hooks
Steven Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas group, which played a major role in the campaign against Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, has been named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

After more than 30 years of anti-gay activism, Steven Hotze picked up the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Wednesday.

The Alabama civil rights group labeled Hotze’s Conservative Republicans of Texas (CRT) an anti-LGBT hate group in its annual report on extremist organizations.

Hotze, an influential and deep-pocketed Republican donor from Houston, was among the top funders of the successful campaign to repeal the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) in November.

“What we look at in the anti-LGBT groups is primarily the use of lies, of falsehoods, that have the effect of demonizing gay people,” SPLC senior fellow Mark Potok said. “So, it’s not merely that they opposed the HERO ordinance; it’s the way in which they did it — the description of gay people as pedophiles and so on.”

The anti-HERO campaign relied heavily on ads suggesting the ordinance would allow men to enter women’s restrooms and prey on victims, even though no such incident has been reported in any of the more than 200 U.S. cities with similar laws.

Hotze, who recently said HERO was linked to a “Satanic movement,” didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. According to CRT’s website, the organization is dedicated to advancing “Constitutional liberties based upon Biblical principles.”

At an anti-LGBT rally last summer, Hotze wielded a sword on stage, compared LGBT people to Nazis and pledged to drive “homofascists” from Houston to San Francisco. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality, Hotze said justices in the majority “hate God” and “want to let sodomites queer our country,” and that the decision would lead to kindergarten teachers encouraging their students to try anal sex.

CRT becomes the fourth anti-LGBT hate group in Texas, and the third added to SPLC’s list, in two years.

“These groups are on the defensive against huge social changes that they cannot stop,” Potok said. “The religious right has suffered very serious losses, losses from which it will not recover, and an enormous amount of rage has resulted.”

John Wright is a freelance journalist based in Austin. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Published at 2:10 pm CST