Texas GOP Takes Aim at Bans on 'Reparative Therapy' for Gay Minors
Delegates to the Texas GOP Convention cheer for Gov. Rick Perry after his speech in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, June, 5, 2014. In his address, the longest-serving governor in the state's history focused more on the future and national issues than his political legacy at home.Rex C. Curry / AP
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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.
Republican delegate Elizabeth Hunter, 20, said she didn't see any reason for removing language that describes being gay as tearing at the fabric of society.
"I don't see anybody leaving the Republican Party because of that language," she said. "I think it would actually encourage someone to join when they see that the Republican Party takes a strong stand rather than standing in the middle."
Cruz ducked a question about his state party's platform on gays, saying he would leave it up to the "grass roots at the convention."'