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The Texas Republican Party platform, revised at the state convention this month, is as full of antigay sentiments as ever -- but a grammatical error makes it seem as if it's also saying most Texans are gay.
The 2016 version of the platform states, "Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans."
As various sources -- The New Civil Rights Movement,Texas Monthly, and NPR among them -- have pointed out, the sentence literally says that homosexuality "has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans." (And by the way, "nations" should be "nation's.")
The culprit is the use of "has" instead of "have" -- as noted by other sites, and The Advocate concurs. With the plural verb "have," the sentence would mean that these "fundamental truths" are ordained by God, recognized by the founders, and shared by most Texans.
Some Texas Republicans are aware of the error, or at least that a few are contending it's an error. "There's a grammatical argument going on," Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the Dallas-area LGBT Republican group Metroplex Republicans, told The New Civil Rights Movement. "Some are insisting the use of commas in the 'Homosexuality' plank in the platform could be interpreted as saying that the founders and the majority of Texans are gay." No, Mr. Oeftering, it's the use of the singular verb.
Other than that, the platform is virulently anti-LGBT. The 2014 platform -- the party meets in even-numbered years to craft it -- infamously endorsed "ex-gay" therapy. This platform still does, in new language, saying, "No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to sexual orientation change efforts." The party apparently has taken note of the moves by several states to bar licensed therapists from subjecting minors to such discredited therapy.
Also dealing with fairly recent developments, the platform calls for the overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality decision. The ruling "has no basis in the Constitution," the platform contends. It also says, "We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between one natural man and one natural woman."
And for more on gender, it says, "We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals' use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex." Indeed, top Republican elected officials in Texas have supported North Carolina's transphobic House Bill 2.
The platform isn't binding on Republican politicians, notes The Texas Tribune. "If history is any guide, the party's candidates will pick and choose from the list, grabbing the ideas they like, ignoring others and distancing themselves from the entire platform, saying something like this time-tested line: 'That's just a snapshot of the sentiments of the GOP delegates at that time,'" the Tribune reports.
But that snapshot depicts a party that is deeply anti-LGBT, despite the grammatical error. It's also staunchly opposed to abortion rights, regulations on business, taxes, and restrictions on gun ownership. You can read the entire platform here.