Texas Dems Unveil Pro-LGBT Platform: Ban Conversion Therapy
The Texas Democratic Party is putting gay rights front and center this November at the ballot box with a platform that calls for a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors, marriage equality, employment non-discrimination and condemns the state's GOP out for allegedly encouraging violence against LGBT citizens.
In a convention held last weekend in Dallas that was far less publicized than the meeting of the state's GOP three weeks earlier that endorsed the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy, Texas Democrats unveiled a progressive platform with plank language on LGBT rights that is in stark contrast to their rival party.
"For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation," the Democratic platform says. "Similarly, it is clear that a person's gender identity - one's inner sense of being male or female - is deep-seated and cannot be changed."
According to Lone Star Q, LGBT delegates reportedly stormed the floor at one point during the state Democratic Party's convention in Dallas, carrying signs emblazoned with the hashtag "#WeDontNeedFixin."
The Texas Democrats platform, which can be read in full here, included the following pro-LGBT rights language.
Personal Security: Ban Reparative Therapy
For decades it has been beyond dispute by health professionals that homosexuality is a normal, natural and positive variation of human sexual orientation. Similarly, it is clear that a person's gender identity - one's inner sense of being male or female - is deep-seated and cannot be changed. Yet, in 2014, the Republican Party of Texas continues to encourage violence against the very souls of LGBTQ people through the quackery known as "reparative therapy" which is now illegal in two states. Texas Democrats strongly oppose the use of any public funding for this demonstrably harmful practice. We further call on the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists, and the Texas Department of State Health Services to fully investigate and to sanction any practitioner who engages in reparative therapy.
Equal Protection: Freedom To Marry
Texas Democrats support the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, which found Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. We call for the total repeal of DOMA and passage of the Respect For Marriage Act. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now recognize and have legalized same-sex marriages.
In February 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia in De Leon v. Perry, ruled that Texas' current prohibitions on same-sex marriage conflict with the U.S. Constitution, "[in] deny[ing] homosexual couples the right to marry, and in so doing, demean[ing] their dignity for no legitimate reason." Texas Democrats call for the immediate repeal of the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment and oppose other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving same-sex couples.
Equal Protection: Employment Non-Discrimination
Qualified, hardworking Texans are denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender non-conforming. A person's qualifications and job performance, not irrational prejudice, should determine success on the job. Texas Democrats support workplace protections codified in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We recognize and applaud the many unions and businesses whose standard contracts prohibit LGBTQ employment discrimination. Texas Democrats support the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent decision that transgender employees are included within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition of sex discrimination.
Education and Services to Prevent and Treat Communicable Infections
Texas Democrats support increased education initiatives and services to address the massive increases in cases of Hepatitis C. Services for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases should also be maintained along with increased access to treatment and therapy that improves quality of life and encourages return to the workforce. Funding for treatment and therapy through Community Health Centers should be encouraged. City and County health officials should be encouraged to provide adequate budgets for the operation of programs proven to prevent communicable infections. State officials shall work with federal officials toward a goal of removing all obstacles currently prohibiting the use of generic drugs for the treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Personal Security: Education of Service Professionals
Discrimination results in a world of unsafe spaces for LGBTQ people: streets, classrooms, health care facilities, retirement homes and areas of public accommodation. Of the 1.6 million homeless youth in the United States, studies estimate that 20-40% are LGBTQ-identified. In elementary school, gender non-conforming students (those who don't meet society's expectations of gender roles) experience harassment, attacks, and sexual assault at high rates. For older LGBTQ people, a legacy of social rejection and narrowed horizons has left them twice as likely to live alone as their heterosexual counterparts and more than four times as likely to have no children. To address the harms of ignorance and prejudice, Texas Democrats call upon social, health care and public service professionals to seek out and adopt best practices in the delivery of services to all Texans.