Earlier this week, the Dallas Voice reported that the Texas Republican Party had stripped language from its platform that claimed that “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family,” but the Houston Chronicle now reports that the language has been replaced with a different kind of condemnation.
According to a first draft the Chronicle obtained, the Texas GOP will now endorse ex-gay therapy for “patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle”:
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. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.
The inclusion of ex-gay therapy is likely a response to laws passed in California and New Jersey and proposed in several other states banning the harmful treatment for minors. A consensus of social scientists have rejected efforts to try to manipulate a person’s sexual orientation, having found no legitimacy to its effectiveness. Survivors of the treatment have overwhelmingly described it as harmful, having caused them shame, emotional harm, self-hate, suicidal ideation, and nervous breakdowns. Of those who said they experienced harm, 84 percent said they are still affected by their past experiences with ex-gay therapy today.
In addition, the platform supports “the enforcement of the State and Federal Defense of Marriage Act,” even though the Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on the federal government recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. It also opposes forcing any adoption or foster care agency to place children with same-sex couples, any employment nondiscrimination protections that would “coerce religious business owners to violate their own beliefs by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior,” and the “assault on marriage by judicial activists.”
At the close of its convention, the Texas Republican Party formally approved the plank endorsing ex-gay therapy without debate.