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Texas Republicans Officially Endorse ‘Gay Cure’ Therapy

Billboard promotion the now-defunct Exodus International 'gay cure' organization.

Billboard promotion the now-defunct Exodus International ‘gay cure’ organization.

The Republican Party of Texas has voted to approve an official platform endorsing discredited and dangerous ‘reparative therapy’ meant to ‘cure’ gays and lesbians of their homosexuality.

Anti-gay language in the proposed party platform never came up for debate before a majority of the 7,000 delegates ratified the measure, the Associated Press reports.

The influential Tea Party group Texas Eagle Forum successfully pushed its anti-gay, anti-equality agenda, including ‘reparative therapy,’ also known as ‘gay cure therapy,’ in which LGBT individuals receive psychological ‘treatments’ designed to make them straight.

Texas Republicans now officially acknowledge “the legitimacy and effectiveness of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”

“The platform reflects what 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,” delegate Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative, anti-gay group Texas Values, which claims to stand for “faith, family and freedom,” told the AP.

‘Gay cure’ therapy has been overwhelmingly discredited and disavowed by the US medical and scientific communities, with the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association among the many groups strongly rejecting the association of homosexuality with mental illness.

Such anti-gay ‘treatments’ have been banned for use against minors in California and New Jersey, where Republican Gov. Chris Christie explained his opposition by noting how ‘reparative therapy’ “can pose critical health risks including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self esteem and suicidal thoughts.”

Texas GOP delegates at the Fort Worth Convention Hall cheered when it was announced that Christie had finished 11th in a 2016 presidential straw poll.

Not all Republicans approved of the anti-gay party platform.

“There’s a very, very small group of people who want to keep the party in the past,” lamented Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the gay conservative group Metroplex Republicans. “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.”

Indeed, a March Pew Research poll found that fully 61 percent of respondents under the age of 30 support same-sex marriage. Overall, 39 percent of Republicans favor LGBT marriage equality.

The desire of many conservatives to deny LGBT people equal rights stands in stark contrast with the Republican party’s professed championing of individual liberty and privacy rights. For years, Texas Republicans have refused to allow gay conservatives to be represented at their convention.

For many conservatives, Christian values and the Bible, which teaches homosexuality is a “sin” and an “abomination” punishable in the Old Testament by death by stoning, trump civil rights, privacy rights and individual liberty.

In what some considered a small victory for gay Texans, decades-old language in the GOP platform declaring “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit” was removed.

The Texas GOP’s approval of the anti-gay platform came just a day after a federal judge ruled Wisconsin’s voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, opening the door for hundreds of gay couples to marry in Milwaukee, Madison and elsewhere in the state.

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