The Texas Republican Party is holding its annual state convention for the next couple of days and, aside from the usual anti-gay stances, gay “conversion therapy” is on the agenda as part of their party plank, which makes even funnier the tweet from married lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who just passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). But in fact, Parker and Gov. Rick Perry were together for something serious—they teamed up to launch a campaign against human trafficking.
"Human trafficking is a crime that impacts communities around the world," Parker said in a press release."Unfortunately, in the U.S., our state ranks second in number of calls to the human trafficking hotline, next to California, and most of the calls from Texas come from Houston. Today, we stand together, united against modern day slavery in our city and in all cities across our state. This campaign urges all Houstonians and all Texans to become part of the solution. If you suspect human trafficking, report it to the national hotline.” (1-888-3737-888)
Parker did not tweet about whether Perry commented on the petition attempt to repeal HERO.
The Houston Chronicle reports that GOP immigration plank is called the 2014 “Texas Solution,” with apparently no sense of historical reverberation that the title alone sounds like the German “Final Solution” in the 1930s.
As to reproductive rights, the plank says: “Until our final goal of total constitutional rights for the unborn child is achieved, we support laws that restrict and regulate abortion including, but not limited to…. the prohibition of the manufacturing and sale of abortifacients (e.g. morning after pill).”
Interestingly, though, the Texas GOP Party Platform opposes human trafficking – perhaps a Perry call – but they sandwich the issue between “Family Values” and “Homosexuality.”
Their long section on “Celebrating Traditional Marriage” includes thumbing their noses at those unelected justices at the Supreme Court by calling for the “enforcement of the State and Federal Defense of Marriage Act," SOCTUS famously overturned DOMA last year. The Party plank also opposes placing foster or adopted children with gay parents and any ENDA job protections that might “coerce religious business owners to violate their own beliefs by affirming what they consider to be sinful and sexually immoral behavior.”
But it’s that "homosexuality" section that reveals their new call for “conversion therapy”:
Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin.
Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. 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. (Italic emphasis mine)
The Texas Republicans are encouraging what Gov. Jerry Brown called “junk science” when he signed State Sen. Ted Lieu's bill banning such so-called “therapy," which California and New Jersey now regard as psychological abuse of minors. Lieu says that he will introduce a national version of his bill, if he wins retiring Rep. Henry Waxman’s seat and goes to Congress:
“One of my proudest achievements was authoring the ban on gay conversion therapy for minors,” Lieu said. “Science shows that not only can you not convert someone from gay to straight – but if you try to do so, some of them get really depressed, some of them get extreme feelings of guilt and shame and some of them commit suicide. I would—as a member of Congress—attempt to make that first-in-the-nation law in California. I’d try to make that nationwide, across America.”
Imagine the Texas GOP going after that!