The traditional conservative viewpoint is that people choose to be gay. It appears the GOP has improved its stance on the issue. No longer do people choose to be gay. According to the GOP and Governor Rick Perry, people can desire to not be gay and therefore, not be gay. Simple as that.
Governor Perry was in San Francisco last week addressing the Commonwealth Club of California. This is where he really showcased his disconnect on social issues as he ponders a second run for the White House.
The Texas Republican Party recently adopted “reparative therapy” as a means to convert homosexuals back to the path of righteousness. Unfortunately for the Texas GOP, reparative therapy is widely discredited. Maybe that discredit comes from the same people warning of climate change.
In San Francisco, Governor Perry was asked whether homosexuality is a disorder. Governor Perry had an interesting response:
Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.
I have no doubt this rhetoric will receive applause from many on the right. It will certainly mobilize the base. But I can’t help but think such comments, while bad, actually pivot the conversation away from the bigger issue: reparative therapy.
Reparative therapy is not a new concept and has long been a cornerstone of the religious right. In fact, the Catholic stance on homosexuality is change or be celibate. The Texas GOP’s platform includes the following language:
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.
Reparative therapy has been discredited by the following organizations: American Academy of Pediatrics; American Medical Association; American Psychiatric Association; World Health Organization; National Association of Social Workers. All these organizations probably think climate change is real, too!
First of all, as the links above show, reparative therapy doesn’t work if, for no other reason than, there’s nothing wrong with them! Second, why must we legislate what a person does in the privacy of their own home? Live and let live.
Finally, the Texas GOP is alienating many voters. Yes, they’re pandering to the base and will certainly appease the extreme anti-gay fringe of the GOP. But the GOP is going to have a hard time winning if they keep alienating the growing, younger population that supports gay rights. More people believe in social equality today than ever before and, if the GOP desires to remain a relevant party, it must evolve.