The Texas Republican Party on Saturday gave final approval to a new party platform, which includes endorsing what is known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy aiming to turn gay people straight.
With thousands of Republican delegates gathered at this year’s annual convention in Forth Worth, the state party approved changing its platform plank on homosexuality to include an endorsement for the controversial therapy without any debate, the Associated Press reported.
The new language, which was drafted earlier in the week, 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.”
The Texas Eagle Forum, a tea party group, pushed for the new language, according to the AP. The group could not be reached for comment on Sunday, but its president, Cathie Adams, told CNN that the group wants to ensure such therapy is available if someone chooses to seek it.
“If a person chooses counseling, then it should be made available,” Adams told CNN via email. “California and New Jersey have passed bills OUTLAWING it altogether, which is under litigation. It’s a freedom issue.”
The practice of conversion therapy, or attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation, has been condemned or criticized by leading psychological organizations such as the American Psychological Association, which concluded that “efforts to change sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.”
“The most important fact about these ‘therapies’ is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions,” the APA said. “Despite the general consensus of major medical, health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public.”
Just last fall, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that bans reparative therapy for minors; it is also outlawed in California. Similar legislation has been proposed in other states, such as New York.
The Texas GOP platform still includes opposition to marriage equality for same-sex couples, but a line that said “homosexuality tears at the fabric of society” was removed.