GOP Panel Retools, but Doesn’t Remove, ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy from State Platform

State convention delegates will vote later on whether to approve the change.

Jeremy Schwab, who authored the Texas GOP's "reparative therapy," or so-called ex-gay, platform.
Jeremy Schwab, who authored the Texas GOP’s “reparative therapy,” or so-called ex-gay, platform.

A Texas GOP committee rejected an effort Wednesday to remove support for so-called ex-gay therapy from the party’s platform, according to Jeff Davis, president of the LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans of Texas. Instead, the panel tweaked some language in the plank but left it mostly intact.

The party made national headlines in 2014 for endorsing the discredited practice, also known as “reparative therapy,” in response to some states’ decision to prohibit licensed mental health professionals from offering it to minors.

“We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle,” the 2014 Texas GOP platform states. “No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.

Davis told the Observer he introduced a proposal Wednesday that would have replaced the plank with general language saying no law should restrict citizens’ access to healthcare they deem appropriate.

At the party’s state convention in Dallas, Davis told a temporary platform committee that virtually all of the major medical and mental health organizations have come out against reparative therapy, from the American Psychological Association to the American Medical Association and the American Counseling Association.

Unswayed, the committee instead adopted new language submitted by “ex-gay” activist Jeremy Schwab, the author of the original plank, Davis said.

Schwab’s language replaces “Reparative Therapy” in the heading of the plank with “Counseling and Therapy,” and replaces “reparative therapy” in the body of the plank with “sexual orientation change efforts,” Davis said.

The Texas GOP’s permanent platform committee meets Thursday night to finalize the proposed document. Unlike in previous years, delegates to the convention will then cast ballots on individual planks rather than approving the full platform by voice vote.

[Follow live updates from the 2016 Republican Party of Texas convention here.]

John Wright is a freelance journalist based in Austin. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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Published at 9:17 am CST
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