The chairman of the Texas Republican Party said he doesn’t believe in discredited therapy aiming to turn gay people straight, or conversion therapy, which the state party endorsed in its new platform earlier this month.
Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said not only does he oppose “reparative” or “conversion” therapy practices, but so do the majority of people calling and emailing his office in response to the addition of the party platform plank, according to Texas Public Radio.
According to the report, Munisteri questioned the legitimacy of the idea of turning a gay person straight, saying in part, “Do they think they can take a straight person to a psychiatrist and turn them gay?” Proponents of the therapy, however, were able to pass the new plank using a “parliamentary maneuver” at the party’s annual convention, he said.
Munisteri’s comments come after Texas Gov. Rick Perry stepped into the debate on conversion therapy by comparing being gay to being an alcoholic.
Last week, the state GOP released a finalized version of the platform, including the “reparative therapy” plank below a separate plank condemning “homosexual behavior.”
The plank reads: “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. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”
Two states — California and New Jersey — outlaw the conversion therapy for patients who are minors, and the New Jersey ban was signed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie. A similar bill was blocked by GOP leadership in the New York State Senate late Friday night.
Conversion therapy has been discredited and criticized by several major health organizations, including the American Psychological Association.