Democrat Wendy Davis would support and sign a law banning reparative therapy for minors, according to a spokesman for her campaign.
But Davis’ Republican opponent in the Texas governor’s race, Attorney General Greg Abbott, isn’t taking a position on the issue.
At its state convention in Fort Worth last week, the Texas GOP amended its platform to include support for reparative therapy “for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”
In response to the headline-grabbing plank, a spokesman for Davis’ campaign confirmed this week in an email to Lone Star Q that the Democratic gubernatorial nominee would back a statewide ban on reparative therapy for minors similar to laws that have passed in California and New Jersey.
Meanwhile, Abbott dodged a question about his party’s support for reparative therapy during a visit to East Texas on Wednesday. KYTX Channel 19 reports that Abbott “stopped short of condemning” the reparative therapy plank but said the issue isn’t near the top of his agenda.
“First is jobs, second is schools, three is roads, transportation and water, and four is making sure our border is secure,” Abbott told KYTX reporter Field Sutton.
“It sounds like reparative therapy is pretty far down on that list,” Sutton said.
“Well, if government does what it’s supposed to do, and then gets out of people’s way, everyone is a whole lot happier,” Abbott responded.
As attorney general, Abbott has vigorously defended Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage against lawsuits alleging they are unconstitutional. He has also issued an opinion saying he believes it’s illegal for local government entities to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.
Earlier in the week, the Davis campaign held a press call to address planks in the GOP platform affecting not only LGBT people, but also women and immigrants. The Davis campaign sought to link the platform to Abbott’s record.
“This platform is a direct consequence of his actions and deeds as the man at the very top of his ticket, as the leader of his party,” said Zac Petkanas, communications director for Davis’ campaign.
Petkanas said that includes the plank endorsing reparative therapy, which he likened to “1950s-style psychological experiments.”
“Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick have made their positions on the LGBT community very clear, and their silence on things like reparative therapy speaks volumes, and this platform is a direct reflection of their values,” Petkanas said.
Also on the call was Democratic state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, an openly LGBT Hispanic woman from El Paso.
“Every chance Greg Abbott gets he finds a way to offend and disrespect women, Latinos and the LGBT community,” Gonzalez said. “Personally, I want a governor who understands the diversity and the beauty that exists in Texas and will work for all communities even if they are different than his own community.”
Watch KYTX’s report below.