Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has officially denounced the 2014 Texas GOP Platform. The platform was ratified on June 7th by the Texas Republican Party Convention in Fort Worth. Log Cabin Republicans of Texas cites the inclusion of a new plank endorsing “ex-gay” or reparative therapy, a practice which tries to turn gay people straight, as their main reason for denouncing the platform. The practice of reparative therapy is not endorsed or supported by any reputable medical association in the United States.
While Log Cabin Republicans of Texas rejects the current platform, they do applaud the removal of some old language from the platform, specifically language which read, “The practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit.” Log Cabin Republicans of Texas also applauds the removal of a plank which stated that the LGBT community should not be allowed to serve in the military.
“While we are proud of the progress made by removing some of the archaic and damaging anti-gay language from the platform,” says LCR-Texas Chairman, Jeff Davis, “Log Cabin Republicans of Texas is outraged over the addition of the plank regarding Reparative Therapy. Texas Republicans, regardless of sexual orientation, do not support this plank of the platform, and The Republican Party of Texas should be ashamed that they are not representing the people.”
Michael Baker, Vice-Chairman of Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, adds, “While most of our members would have preferred different immigration and medical marijuana policies as well, our focus and concern is on the hurtful language that remains in the platform, targeting our LGBT neighbors and voters.”
“We are appreciative that language stating that homosexuality is incompatible with military service is removed” says Baker. “We appreciate the actions of the platform committee in the removal of hurtful and malicious language in several places in the platform, including the language removed from the homosexuality plank.”
The controversial platform and its highly volatile reparative therapy plank has made and continues to make national and international headlines. It has drawn wide criticism, ire, ridicule, and dismay among Republican delegates attending the convention, and as well as from Republican voters and National Commentators. “It is truly unfortunate that The Texas Republican Party leadership has allowed a small fringe of far right wing conservatives who do not represent the majority of loyal Republican voters to maintain a strong hold over the TX GOP Convention,” says Brenda Van Horn, member of Log Cabin Republicans, long standing straight ally and activist of the LGBT community.
The media flurry surrounding the reparative therapy plank has overshadowed key speakers and key events of the convention as a whole.
Reparative therapy has been widely discredited by numerous reputable medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychological Association which maintains its use as ineffective, can result in psychological harm, should not be used, and is unethical.
“By allowing a small fraction of the party to perpetuate anti-gay sentiment through the “Reparative Therapy” plank, Texas GOP leadership has moved the Republican Party back in time 50 years or more,” says Van Horn. “The language is offensive and malicious, but the most egregious part of this plank is the condemnation, intolerance, and underlying fear based hatred of other human beings whose sole difference is how they identify themselves sexually.”
Polls show that a majority of Republican voters are supportive of the LGBT community and LGBT rights issues. According to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 50% of Republicans are in favor of marriage equality. The same study found that 61% of younger, Millennial Republican voters (age 18-33) support marriage equality.
“As loyal Republicans, who vote Republican, we want to grow the Republican Party by bringing more and more Republican voters into the fold,” adds Van Horn. “We want to win! We want to move the Party forward into the future, and inclusion wins! Exclusion does not.”
“We know that there are thousands of Republicans—straight and gay—who are extremely dissatisfied by the language which remains in the current platform,” says Davis. “To these people, we urge you to join your local Log Cabin Republican Chapter, join Log Cabin Republicans of Texas. We also encourage you to write to Texas GOP Chairman, Steve Munisteri and to your local newspaper to voice your disdain. Change doesn’t happen unless people stand up and demand it.”