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Texas Republican Party endorses ex-gay therapy

Tea Party group says it’s a ‘freedom issue’

Republican Texans have endorsed ex-gay therapy as part of their party platform and maintained their opposition to gay marriage, even as they excised longstanding language that says homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society.” Credit: flickr.com

Republican Texans have endorsed ex-gay therapy as part of their party platform and maintained their opposition to gay marriage, even as they excised longstanding language that says homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society,” the Associated Press (AP) reports.

The Republican Party of Texas platform reads, in part, “We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”

AP says a Tea Party group, the Texas Eagle Forum, pressed for the inclusion of language supportive of reparative therapy, saying it’s a “freedom issue” and should be made available.   

Members of Metroplex Republicans, a gay conservative group, were prepared to oppose the language, but the platform was approved before they could speak against it at the annual convention, held in Fort Worth June 7.

California and New Jersey have legislation in place banning the practice of ex-gay therapy on minors. Mental health organizations including the American Psychological Association have spoken out against such counselling.

The idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations,”  the association says.

Alan Chambers, at one time the prominent president and face of ex-gay therapy ministry Exodus International, which folded in 2013, has repeatedly distanced himself from the “change is possible” mantra espoused for years by the organization, much to the chagrin of those still devoted to the idea that all gay people need to rid themselves of homosexuality is prayer and therapy. 

“I would say the majority, meaning 99.9 percent of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted, or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction,” Alan Chambers told a Gay Christian Network conference in January 2012.

In May 2012, retired psychiatrist Robert Spitzer retracted claims made in a controversial 2001 study he conducted that “highly motivated” gays and lesbians could change their sexual orientation. “In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct,” Spitzer said.