This article from The Houston Chronicle struck me: Texas lawmakers remember Sally Ride as an inspiration and a role model
I don’t remember news accounts of Sally Ride going into space (I was only five when she took her first space flight) but it was because of her that when young women who were in school with me asserted that they wanted to be an astronaut they were encouraged instead of being told that space is not women’s work.
America entrusted Dr. Sally Ride with an amazing amount of responsibility. Not only bearing on her shoulders the watchful eye of being the first woman in space, but because of her intelligence and dedication she was the only person to serve on the panels that investigated the Challenger and Columbia disasters.
Sally Ride was in every sense an American hero, and she deserves the accolades that have poured in following her death from pancreatic cancer. And it was in her passing that the world learned that the professor, astronaut, and glass-ceiling shatterer had been in a relationship for twenty-seven years with her partner Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy, whom Sally Ride’s sister Bear described “as a member of the family.”
The Houston Chronicle article describes how Texas Republicans were quick to extol Dr. Ride:
Taking to his Facebook page Texas Representative Pete Olson (R-Sugar) wrote, “Heartfelt condolences to the family of Sally Ride, the 1st female astronaut who inspired a generation of American women to reach for the stars!”
Representative Kevin Brady echoed this sentiment tweeting: “Dr. Sally Ride took us all along on her adventures into space and her story continues to inspire children — including my own sons — at Sally Ride Elementary in The Woodlands. Thank you Dr. Ride for your lifelong advocacy for science.”
I whole-heartedly agree with their statements, but these Republicans are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They are praising Dr. Ride while their party condemns her.
The Texas Republican Party platform asserts:
We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of 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 of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
Dr. Sally Ride was a leader, a hero, an icon, and a lesbian. Like a tapestry, a person is the whole of the small parts that make them up—and it is impossible to praise the woman who Dr. Ride was while condemning the fact that she loved another woman.
Even though Dr. Ride was able to literally reach for the stars and the United States trusted her to answer questions on two tragedies, the woman who she loved will receive no federal benefits, even though if Dr. Ride had married a man he would have received thousands of benefits from the federal government.
Either Sally Ride was inspirational or she tore at the fabric of society. Maybe it is time for someone to ask Representatives Olsen and Brady which statement they stand by.