By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com June 05 2014 2:40 PM ET
A draft of the Texas Republican Party's platform cuts language claiming homosexuality "tears at the fabric of society" but recognizes the "legitimacy" of so-called reparative therapy to "escape from the homosexual lifestyle," according to a copy obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
The Chronicle reports that the draft has removed a declaration about the sinfulness of homosexuality that appeared in the platform in years past, abandoning an affirmation 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."
In place of that language, the draft has included an endorsement of so-called ex-gay therapy, the scientifically discredited treatment that tries to turn gay people straight through prayer and counseling. Ex-gay therapy, also known as reparative therapy, has been rejected as harmful by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, and its use on minors has been prohibited in California and New Jersey, with similar legislation recently considered in New York, Minnesota, and Illinois, though the bills failed to pass in the latter two states. (The New York bill remains pending.)
Nevertheless, the Texas GOP's draft platform language touts the discredited practice as an effective way out of the "homosexual lifestyle," addressing the recent increase of laws banning the therapy directly.
"We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle," reads the draft, according to the Chronicle. "No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy."
The draft is the first revision of the state's GOP platform this year and is being amended and voted on at the state's Republican convention, which began today in Fort Worth. The final version of the official party platform could restore the original antigay language, include a stronger endorsement for the scientifically discredited efforts to turn gay people straight, or any combination of those or other statements.
The Chronicle reports that the draft language has already been debated contentiously, with some delegates demanding that the original antigay language be reinserted.
The draft also includes a call for broad restrictions on access to abortion and reproductive health care, including requiring parental consent, removing reproductive health care from insurance plans, and the "enactment of any other laws which will advance the right to life for unborn children." The platform also calls for prohibiting the manufacture and sale of emergency contraception, commonly known the morning-after pill, which the platform labels an "abortifacient," although the pill described simply prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb and does not cause an abortion if a fertilized egg has already been implanted, according scientists including those at Princeton University.