Texas Democrats respond to GOP, call for ban on gay conversion therapy in party platform

Dems

LGBT Democrats gather at the state party convention in Dallas last weekend. (via Facebook)

Three weeks ago, the Texas GOP made headlines by endorsing the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy in its 2014 party platform.

This past weekend, the Texas Democratic Party responded in its 2014 platform by calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy.” While the Texas GOP’s reparative therapy plank drew international attention, the Democrats’ response has gone largely unnoticed.

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LGBT delegates reportedly stormed the floor at one point during the state Democratic Party’s convention in Dallas, carrying signs emblazoned with the hashtag “#WeDontNeedFixin.” Democrats later approved a platform alleging that the Texas GOP “continues to encourage violence against the very souls of LGBTQ people through the quackery of reparative therapy, which is now illegal in two states.”

“Texas Democrats strongly oppose the use of any public funding for this demonstrably harmful practice,” the Texas Democratic Party platform states, before calling for the state to sanction those who practice reparative therapy.

Two years ago, Texas Democrats endorsed marriage equality in their party platform for the first time. Just as in 2012, this year’s platform calls for the full repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as well as Texas’ bans on same-sex marriage. But the party also added the following section responding to the GOP’s widely condemned plank endorsing reparative therapy:

PERSONAL SECURITY AND EQUAL PROTECTION FOR LGBTQ TEXANS

Personal Security: Ban Reparative Therapy

For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation. Similarly, it is clear that a person’s gender identity — one’s inner sense of being male or female — is deep-seated and cannot be changed. Yet, in 2014, the Republican Party of Texas continues to encourage violence against the very souls of LGBTQ people through the quackery known as “reparative therapy” which is now illegal in two states. Texas Democrats strongly oppose the use of any public funding for this demonstrably harmful practice. We further call on the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, and the Texas Department of State Health Services to fully
investigate and to sanction any practitioner who engages in reparative therapy.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, has already endorsed a ban on reparative therapy for minors — similar to laws in California and New Jersey. Meanwhile, in response to backlash over his party’s reparative therapy plank, Texas GOP Chair Steve Munisteri spoke out against the practice.

Read the Texas Democratic Party’s 2014 platform here.

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