Just two weeks after the Texas Republican Party adopted its 2014 platform, the state party’s own chairman is trashing that platform’s support for so-called “reparative therapy” to “cure” gay people by turning them straight. Texas Public Radio quotes Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri about the controversial anti-gay plank in the platform:

“I just make the point for anybody that thinks that may be the possibility: Do they think they can take a straight person to a psychiatrist and turn them gay?”

Medical experts and professional associations have condemned “reparative therapy” as abusive quackery that seriously endangers the mental health and physical well-being of those who suffer through it. Munisteri says emails and phone calls to his office are “overwhelmingly opposed” to the “reparative therapy” plank in the platform. He went on to blame Cathie Adams, the head of the right-wing Texas Eagle Forum, for getting it in the platform. Adams has been one of the most viciously anti-gay activists in Texas. Munisteri unseated Adams as Texas GOP chairperson in 2010.

Nevertheless, the Texas GOP has remained openly hostile to LGBT people, even as polls show most Americans support LGBT equality, including marriage equality. In fact, the party this year once again refused — as… Read More

One of the most extreme religious-right groups in Texas is rushing to defend the state Republican Party for adopting a platform last week that supports discredited “reparative therapy,” which seeks to convert or “cure” gay people.

Medical experts and professional associations have condemned “reparative therapy” as abusive quackery that seriously endangers the mental health and physical well-being of those who suffer through it. The American Psychiatric Association, for example, notes that this “therapy” is not supported by scientific evidence and actually harms people:

“The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.

Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the… Read More

Polling shows that most Americans oppose discrimination against LGBT people (and even support marriage equality), but Texas Republican Party leaders apparently didn’t get the memo. The Texas GOP has denied Log Cabin Republicans, a national organization for gay conservatives, a booth at its state convention in Fort Worth next week.

The state GOP chairman, Steve Munisteri, confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that the reason for the rejection is that Log Cabin supports marriage equality for LGBT families:

“The reason it was rejected was because the group applying was associated with advocating for gay marriage. So the problem was associated for advocating a policy decision that was contrary to the platform.”

That’s a rather strained excuse, to say the least. It’s true that the state party’s past platforms have opposed marriage equality. But convention delegates haven’t voted on this year’s platform yet. So it seems odd to deny Log Cabin a booth because the group opposes a plank in a platform that delegates haven’t even debated, let alone passed yet.

The reality is that a lot of Texas Republicans just don’t like gay people. Here’s what the state GOP’s 2012 platform said:

We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and… Read More

You’ve no doubt heard of Conservapedia, the website that bills itself as — for lack of a better term — the fair and balanced alternative to Wikipedia. The name Conservapedia should give you an indication of the kind of balance they offer.

We recently got wind of Conservapedia’s chuckle-inducing entry on the 2012 Summer Olympics, which gets going with a reference to Nazi Germany (this has now been deleted) in the very first paragraph, and then goes on to do absolutely nothing to redeem itself in the rest of the entry.

Through the lens of Conservapedia, much of the the Olympic games is political. For instance, Conservapedia asks if “feminist Title IX quotas” will harm the performance of the U.S. wrestling team. “Will countries that have implemented same-sex marriage underperform?” asks the site. Did you know that the U.S. women’s soccer team’s coach is a foreigner? Now you do, because Conservapedia felt that fact should be emphasized.

And British soccer legend David Beckham is also somehow a political issue. Conservapedia calls him an “Overrated Sports Star.” The writer must be a Liverpool fan.

But anyway, this got us wondering how Conservapedia’s entry stacks up against another strange document of… Read More

A Texas Republican Party official says the party never meant to include an attack on teaching critical thinking skills in the platform it adopted this month. Talking Points Memo quotes state GOP Communications Director Chris Elam as claiming that plank got into the platform by mistake:

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” Elam said. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT [Republican Party of Texas] in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Elam said the members of the subcommittee “regret” the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, “it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.”

TPM asked Elam what the intent of subcommittee had been in including the “Knowledge-Based Education” plank.

“I think the intent is that the Republican Party is opposed to the values clarification method that serves the purpose of challenging students beliefs and undermine parental authority,” he said.

So if that plank has to… Read More