It won't end the criticism for his recent unsympathetic remarks to a gay political organization, but Gov. Mike Beebe has at least declined to attend or endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry's gay-bashing extravaganza, scheduled for Houston next month. Long journeys begin with single small steps. Perry, a potential Republican presidential candidate, asked his fellow governors to approve the Texas-sized get-together that he is co-sponsoring with the American Family Association, long recognized as a hate group and now officially designated as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center. While Governor Perry has talked mostly about America standing in the need of prayer — good Christian fundamentalist prayer — the president of the AFA, the notorious Tim Wildmon, has acknowledged that one of the purposes of the prayerfest is to end the "increasing acceptance of homosexuality" by American society. A spokesman for Governor Beebe didn't remember the exact language used by the governor in declining Perry's invitation, but he said the governor would definitely be staying away from the Houston affair, or, as the spokesman put it, nicely, "staying out of Governor Perry's hair." Until recently, when he stepped on the religious-bigotry gas, Perry, like Donald Trump, was best known for his 'do. "Governor Goodhair," the late Molly Ivins called him. Gay-baiting aside, a governor has no business using his office to promote his own religion. Governor Perry can't stay on his knees long enough to make it right.