Note: this is a guest post submitted by Greg Degeyter.
Proposition 1’s (HERO) only hope for passage was low voter turnout and Mayor Parker ended any chance of passage with the subpoenas for preachers’ sermon notes since that energized the natural opponents of the proposition.Although it’s tempting to argue Houston is a solid democrat city therefore the proposition should carry such an analysis ignores the conservative bent to minorities beliefs when it comes to religion in a vacuum and lgbt issues in a vacuum.
Older and also first generation immigrants from Mexico and Central America are largely conservative on social religious issues. When the proposition was essentially turned into a referendum on the lgbt aspects of the proposition this segment of the voting population which normally votes democrat was going to switch alignment on this particular issue.While solidly democrat blacks are also significantly opposed to lgbt issues being given special privileges. Once again a solid democrat constituency was switching alliance for this particular issue.
Although minorities would benefit from the proposition the lgbt focus was enough to change a substantial amount of the minority vote. Rather than focusing on how minorities benefit from other aspects of the proposition the mayor’s office took the minority vote for granted and engaged in a lgbt campaign rather than promoting the proposition as a whole.
With most conservatives opposed to proposition 1 and two solidly democrat constituencies opposed to the proposition all it takes is a reason to come out and vote. The mayor ensured the vote with the sermon notes seizure. Not only did it ensure voting energy against the proposition; it also ensured that the minority vote would be active since some of those churches were targeted.
The take away is that on social conservative religious issues even deep blue Houston will vote their beliefs over party lines. Simply being statesmen and reaching out and working together when beliefs overlap will begin to build goodwill overall and make future cooperation easier.