By Matthew Wilson

Texas Republicans over the weekend approved a swath of controversial changes to their party’s platform, coming out in full force against LGBT rights and taking a hard right turn on several other issues.

The platform adopted by convention delegates at the conclusion of the party’s 2022 state convention included policy statements calling homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice” and opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity.”

“We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values,” the platform’s text reads. “No one should be granted special legal status based on their LGBTQ+ identification.”

The platform goes on to lambast “all efforts to validate transgender identity,” supporting a ban on medical attempts to “affirm” transgender “perception[s]” of individuals under 21, as well as a ban on all gender reassignment surgeries paid for with public funds.

“We oppose the use of taxpayer funds for any type of medical gender dysphoria treatments or sex change operations and/or treatments. This includes but is not limited to military personnel as well as inmates in federal, state, or local prisons or jails,” the document states. “No Federal, state, insurance, or probate monies may be allocated for the use of such treatment.”

The platform further stipulates that inmates in Texas state correctional facilities “must be housed according to their biological sex.”

Texas Republicans also gave tacit approval to so-called “conversion therapy,” efforts meant to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, promising to protect the legality of “counseling methods” and “Reintegrative Therapy” for people with “gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex attraction.”

LGBT Republicans blasted the platform changes as unwarranted and “hateful.” Michael Cargill, the head of the LGBT Republican group Log Cabin Republicans, dismissed convention delegates who pushed through anti-LGBT statements as a “small minority” of “crazy people” who are “spewing hateful language” and whose views are “un-Christian like.”

Responding to the platform’s enactment, Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) said in a statement that the Texas GOP was “trying to take us back to a time when women couldn’t make decisions about their own bodies and when Americans lived in fear that they would be punished for being themselves.”

Other notable items included in the platform are resolutions calling Joe Biden’s presidency illegitimate, describing the 2020 election as unconstitutional, and “rebuk[ing]” Republican senators working with Democrats to craft a bipartisan agreement on gun control legislation, including Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, in the aftermath of the Uvalde mass shooting. The platform further asserted that “all gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment and our God given rights.”

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Additionally, Texas Republicans adopted policy positions calling for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, along with the 16th and 17th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The 16th Amendment established the federal government’s right to collect income taxes, and the 17th Amendment made U.S. senators, who were previously elected by state legislatures, subject to direct election by the people.

The Texas GOP convention previously made headlines for a viral incident in which Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was accosted by pro-Trump protesters, who accused him of being a “globalist,” said he supported gun control, and called him “Eyepatch McCain.” One protester was heard assailing the congressman as a “traitor” and saying he should be “hung for treason.”

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