Even as some Republicans soften anti-gay stances, the Texas Republican Party has endorsed a platform that includes support for “reparative therapy” for gay individuals.
Delegates at the party’s annual convention apparently did not debate the language specifically, but rather endorsed the platform that had been drafted by a smaller committee.
With the new plank in place, the Texas GOP now recognizes “the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”
Many health organizations, including the American Psychological Association, have condemned gay conversion therapy, and some in the GOP voiced concerns about the move in Texas.
“There’s a very, very small group of people who want to keep the party in the past. We were here today to try to pull the party into the future,” Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the gay conservative group Metroplex Republicans, told the Associated Press. “The only way the party can go into the future is to start listening to young people, to start listening to people who have gay family members.”
Others, including convention delegate and Texas Values president Jonathan Saenz, hailed the new platform.
“The platform reflects what the people in the Republican Party have asked for, and that should be no surprise: family values, protection of marriage between one man and one woman and everything that goes along with that,” Saenz told the AP.
The Texas GOP’s move is hardly representative of Republicans nationwide — Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, signed a ban on gay conversion therapy last year, and a fierce debate rages in the party over how to approach issues of homosexuality.
Former Houston Young Republicans president Dave Smith was one of those who criticized the Texas platform for hitting too many specific issues and being potentially divisive because of it.
“Shakespeare once said that brevity is the soul of wit, and there’s that old saw about resumes, that if you can’t distill it down into one page, you’re saying too much,” Smith told Breitbart Texas. “I believe the same about our platform.”
Gallup polling has shown that Millennials tend to differ from older cohorts on some key social issues, including gay marriage, with 78 percent of those 18- to 29-years-old saying gay marriage should be legal in 2014.
While the new Texas Republican Party platform endorses “reparative therapy” for gays, it also removes a passage, long included in the platform, that says “the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society.”
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