Tex Dem Platform Rejects GOP on Gays
In response to the recently adopted Texas Republican Party platform’s embarrassingly backward support for "gay conversion" treatment, Texas Democrats are shooting back with a pointed call to ban “reparative" therapy.
In a move that sparked national attention, the Texas GOP adopted a 2014 platform draft during their convention in early June that – among other archaic, regressive, and discriminatory planks – deemed homosexuality an unacceptable “alternative lifestyle” and granted “legitimacy and value” to reparative therapy for patients seeking “escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” as the Chronicle previously reported.
"Conversion therapy" has been invalidated and denounced by major health organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association. The practice is routinely advocated by the anti-LGBT hard right-wing, falling in line with their assertion that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice" that can be corrected over time. But the position is so extreme, it’s even seeing pushback from inside the party – the RPT’s Chairman, Steve Munisteri expressed his discomfort with the endorsement, asking rhetorically, “Do they think they can take a straight person to a psychiatrist and turn them gay?”
While it seemed Dems were staying relatively quiet on the hot-button issue, they’ve certainly made their voices heard in their own platform, crafted last weekend while convening in Dallas. Describing homosexuality as a “normal” sexual orientation that cannot be changed, Dems, under a new section devoted to personal security and equal protections for gay residents, take a direct shot at the GOP, declaring, “[T]he 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.” They also request state medical boards to investigate and reprimand anyone conducting the practice. Full excerpt:
“Personal Security: Ban Reparative Therapy”:
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.
The Dem platform also calls for the full repeal of the federal and state versions of the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA); the full passage of national same-sex marriage laws and – citing the recent DeLeon v Perry Texas-based marriage equality case that ruled such laws unconstitutional – a reversal of the state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Additionally, they support workplace non-discrimination policies for LGBTQ citizens and streamlined avenues for transgendered Texans to obtain accurate identity documents.
In another pointed shot at the GOP’s not only anti-LGBT, but anti-choice platform and general crusade against reproductive rights, Dems have included, for the first time in recent past, a section specifically devoted to women (this is apart from sections dedicated to family planning) that opposes attempts to overturn Roe v Wade and supports gender fair pay laws.
“Over the past fourteen years, the Texas Republican Party has maintained a targeted attack on the rights and autonomy of Texas women,” the Dem platform reads. “The value of Texas women as equal participants in our democracy has been undermined in the name of 'family values.' The Texas Democratic Party is committed to ending the damaging policies and laws that threaten Texas women’s economic and physical health.”
Read a copy of the platform here.