Metro Weekly

Texas GOP Unleashes an Appalling Anti-LGBTQ Platform

The platform calls homosexuality an "abnormal lifestyle choice" and rips into every possible facet of same-sex life.

Texas state flag – Photo: Pete Alexopoulos

The Republican Party of Texas has approved a platform attacking a variety of LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality and same-sex parenting.

The party’s 50-page platform, which delegates approved during the party’s annual state convention in San Antonio on May 25, contains several planks meant to cater to social conservatives. While party platforms are not binding, they generally provide voters with an idea of the issues that will be prioritized by party leadership should they take power and a statement of a party’s values.

Among the Texas GOP’s various planks are opposition to marriage equality, including a full repeal of the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that overturned various state bans on same-sex marriage, denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and the refusal to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states as valid.

The party also espouses the right of business owners or state and county employees to refuse to participate in, provide goods and services for, or be forced to recognize the validity of, marriages between two people of the same gender.

The party also opposes criminal or civil penalties, including lawsuits or fines, against those who oppose “nontraditional sexual behavior or same-sex relationships due to their religious convictions.”

“We affirm God’s biblical design for marriage and family between one biological man and one biological woman, which has proven to be the foundation for all great nations in Western Civilization,” the platform reads. “We oppose homosexual marriage, regardless of state of origin. We urge the Texas Legislature to pass religious liberty protections for individuals, businesses, and government officials who believe marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The platform calls homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice” undeserving of special legal status or recognition. This extends to spousal benefits granted by local city or county governments to individuals in same-sex relationships.

The Texas GOP also expressly opposes same-sex parenting or the recognition of parental rights for adults engaged in same-sex relationships.

“We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal, and moral covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman. Further, we support a traditional definition of family with only one biological man in the role of father and one biological woman in the role of mother,” the platform states.

“We are opposed to same-sex parenting, intentionally subjecting a child to the loss of their biological father or mother, and other non-traditional definitions of family.”

The Texas GOP’s platform says that “in the best interests of the family and child,” children should only be able to be adopted by “married or single heterosexuals,” which would prohibit single LGBTQ from adopting or serving as foster parents.

The platform supports the repeal of laws and regulations that would require business owners or employees to violate their First Amendment rights, meaning that those opposed to homosexuality or same-sex marriage would be empowered to deny goods or services to LGBTQ people or deny them equal access to public accommodations.

The party also pushes for the expansion of so-called “parental rights,” which would include a Florida-style “Don’t Say Gay” law forbidding schools from teaching about “sex education, sexual health, or sexual choice or identity…in any grade whatsoever,” as well as dissemination of any online or written material on those topics.

Until such a law takes effect, schools will be required to adopt abstinence-only programs and obtain written consent from parents, who must be informed of any guest speakers or referral resources that students will be exposed to in class.

Related to that is another plank decrying the so-called “grooming” of minors, which would require Texas schools and libraries, and any book vendors to filter or vet inappropriate or harmful content, “such as pornography.”

That plank also calls for any teacher or school employee who exposes a student to inappropriate material to have their teaching license revoked, forfeit their pension, and “be criminally prosecuted with enhanced penalties.”

The GOP platform would call on education officials to mandate that “instruction on the Bible” be provided in all public schools throughout Texas.

Flags “promoting progressive agendas” — which appears to be a veiled reference to Pride flags — would be prohibited from being displayed on public school grounds.

The platform also states that only individuals’ assigned sex at birth will be recognized by state officials or school administrators.

In schools, LGBTQ content would be barred from the classroom, particularly any lessons or material that “adopts, supports, or promotes gender fluidity or transgender ideology.”

Students would be barred from using gender-affirming pronouns or names and would be required to use only multi-user facilities, such as restrooms, showers, or changing rooms, that match their assigned sex at birth.

A similar prohibition would be extended to adults using facilities in government buildings or universities that receive public dollars. This would also apply to housing assignments for incarcerated individuals.

While Texas already bans the provision of gender-affirming care to minors, the platform restates its opposition to puberty blockers, hormones, or surgery to treat gender dysphoria for any person under the age of 26, which would be deemed child abuse and punishable under law.

In keeping with this treatment of legal adults as the intellectual equivalent of minors, the Texas GOP platform also calls for parents to be allowed to access any medical information, grades, or other personal data of any child that is either financially supported by parents or is considered a dependent for health insurance purposes.

That would require doctors, clinics, hospitals, and colleges to grant parents access to that information, just as they would for children under the age of 18.

The platform opposes the use of taxpayer funds, including Medicaid, to cover the cost of gender-affirming care for any individual, regardless of age. Military personnel would be ineligible to receive gender-affirming treatments while serving, and incarcerated people would be barred from receiving any such treatments.

That opposition also appears to extend to private insurance, meaning transgender individuals wishing to transition would have to pay 100% of the cost of their care — including post-transition routine medical care — out of pocket. 

The platform advocates for detransitioners to be able to sue their former doctors for up to 10 years after transitioning, and would require insurance companies to fully cover the cost of procedures or treatments for conditions that were caused by gender-affirming treatments. 

The Texas GOP is also calling for the passage of a law to prohibit minors from socially transitioning (which does not involve any medical interventions), and protect them from being exposed to sexual topics or “predatory sexual behaviors, including but not limited to the ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.'”

The party’s platform also calls for the repeal of all hate crime laws and seeks to permit therapists, psychologists, and counselors to engage in conversion therapy to treat people dealing with gender dysphoria or “unwanted same-sex attraction.”

One plank within the platform calls for barring the production and public display of pornography within the state, along with expanded measures “to block incidental or unwanted exposure to inappropriate pornographic material,” with criminal penalties for sites that don’t comply.

The one good idea in the platform is a call for greater restrictions to prevent minors from accessing the Internet or social media platforms where age-inappropriate material could be accessed. 

Beyond social issues, the platform calls for amending the way that elected officials are chosen in Texas. As part of that proposal, candidates for any statewide office would have to win a majority of counties in the state, rather than a majority of voters, in order to win.

As noted by Truthout, due to the concentration of Democratic voters in a handful of counties, such a proposal would effectively relegate Democrats to permanent minority status, making the outcome of any election for statewide office predetermined.

That proposal is so extreme, it even goes beyond a system that Mississippi had in place until 2021, which required candidates for statewide office to not only win a majority of the vote, but a majority of the state’s 122 state House districts. But even Mississippi’s system was more closely linked to population than Texas’s, which would give tens of voters in a sparsely populated county the same electoral heft as a county with millions of voters.

As historian Kevin Kruse noted on his Substack, the adoption of this county-unit type of system would mean Texas will “have created something even more unequal than the scheme concocted by segregationists of a century ago.”

Although Kruse acknowledges that such a voting scheme would likely be challenged in the courts, he also suggests that the conservative majority on the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court could likely reverse decades of precedent by throwing out the concept of “one person, one vote” in elections. 

“I’m sure they’re looking for an excuse to tear down Baker v. Carr and its descendants in order to enshrine their vision of (white rural conservative) minority rule,” Kruse writes. “And if they have to toss aside democracy itself, well, so be it.”

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