Texas GOP advances ‘reparative therapy’ for gay people
Published 8:48 am Friday, June 6, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas Republican Party would endorse psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay people straight under a new platform partly aimed at rebuking laws in California and New Jersey that ban so-called “reparative therapy” on minors.
A push to include the new anti-gay language survived a key vote late Thursday in Fort Worth at the Texas Republican Convention where, across the street, tea party star U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz fired up attendees at a rally to defend marriage as between a man and a woman.
Under the new proposed plank, the Texas GOP will “recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”
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The full convention of nearly 10,000 delegates from across Texas will take a final vote on the platform Saturday.
Gay conservatives in Texas could still emerge with a rare victory on a separate issue: removing decades-old platform language that states, “Homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.” Stripping that phrasing survived a sometimes-tense challenge from hardliners who not only wanted to preserve it, but wanted to replace “homosexuality” with “sexual sins.”
“I really beg my social conservative colleagues to let this issue go,” said Rudy Oeftering, a Dallas businessman and vice president of the gay Republican group Metroplex Republicans. “It’s your opinion. It’s your belief — but it’s my life.”
That issue also faces a full vote Saturday.
The Texas Republican Convention has long been unfriendly territory for gays, even conservative ones. For years, the party has refused to let gay GOP organizations rent booths in the convention hall.
The therapy language was inserted at the urging of Cathie Adams of Dallas, leader of the influential tea party group Texas Eagle Forum and a onetime chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party.