Texas Gay Dems: #WeDontNeedFixin

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com July 01 2014 4:03 PM ET

LGBT Texas Democrats have a strong response to the state Republican Party’s endorsement of so-called reparative therapy: “#WeDontNeedFixin.”

LGBT delegates to the Texas Democratic Party’s convention last weekend in Dallas carried signs bearing the hashtag and stormed the floor at one point, and the party adopted a platform that spells out opposition to the discredited practice of sexual orientation change therapy, reports news site Lone Star Q.

Three weeks ago Texas Republicans adopted a platform with the expected opposition to marriage equality and the gay “lifestyle,” plus new language that includes the following: “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.” California and New Jersey have both outlawed the use of such therapy on minors, and every major health organization has labeled it both ineffective and harmful. A Texas “ex-gay” activist claimed credit for the party’s endorsement of the practice, and the platform plank has led to pointed questioning of Republican Texas governor Rick Perry, who has compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

The state Democrats put this in their platform in response: “For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation. Similarly, it is clear that a person’s gender identity — one’s inner sense of being male or female — is deep-seated and cannot be changed. Yet, in 2014, the Republican Party of Texas continues to encourage violence against the very souls of LGBTQ people through the quackery known as ‘reparative therapy’ which is now illegal in two states. Texas Democrats strongly oppose the use of any public funding for this demonstrably harmful practice. We further call on the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, and the Texas Department of State Health Services to fully investigate and to sanction any practitioner who engages in reparative therapy.”

Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for governor, has called for a ban on reparative therapy, and the state Republican Party chair, Steve Munisteri, has repudiated his party’s endorsement of the practice, Lone Star Q notes. Munisteri recently told Texas Public Radio that public reaction to that plank in the Republican platform has been overwhelmingly negative.

The Texas Democratic platform also endorsed marriage equality, as it did for the first time in 2012, and once again calls for an end to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and repeal of the remainder of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down the portion of DOMA that prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriages, but the section that allows states to deny recognition to marriages performed elsewhere still stands.