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Texas GOP Endorses Discredited ‘Reparative Therapy’ For Gays And Lesbians

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At it’s just concluded convention, the Texas Republican Party approved a platform that, among other things, endorses the controversial and largely discredited idea of therapy that supposedly helps people stop being gay:

Texas Republicans have adopted a party platform that includes support for voluntary psychological “therapy” targeted at converting homosexuals to heterosexuals.

Almost 10,000 attendees gathered in Fort Worth at the annual Texas GOP Convention to vote on a platform ahead of the 2016 race for the White House.

Supporters of “conversion” or “reparative” therapy believe the treatment is effective in turning gays straight. California and New Jersey have banned the treatment for minors.

The Texas Republicans’ measure states that “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.”

Spearheading the endorsement is Cathie Adams, president of the conservative Texas Eagle Forum. She stressed that the measure calls for allowing people to choose the treatment.

“Nothing is mandatory,” Adams wrote in an e-mail to CNN on Saturday. “If a person chooses counseling, then it should be made available. California and New Jersey have passed bills OUTLAWING it altogether, which is under litigation. It’s a freedom issue.”

But an array of professional organizations oppose gay conversion therapy. Such groups include the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

“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,” said the APA, the nation’s largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology.

“To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation … is safe or effective.”

This so-called therapy, which often has a religious component to it such as in the work that Marcus Bachmann, husband of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, does at his clinic in Minnesota has been the subject of controversy for some time. There have been many reports of parents who have forced their children into programs like this for religious reasons, convinced that their homosexuality is something that can be “cured” with therapy and enough time spent reading the Bible. Even in cases where the therapy was entered into voluntarily, there have been plenty of reports of patients who came out of the process in worse shape than they were went they went into it. Those reports, especially the ones involving children, are at least part of the reason that states like California and New Jersey have passed laws forbidding licensed therapists from engaging in the therapy, at least on patients under the age of 18. A bill that would impose a similar ban is pending in the state legislature in Illinois.

At the root of this so-called therapy, of course, is the view that homosexuality is either at best something that people choose voluntarily or at worst a mental illness, ideas which have largely been rejected by society as a whole and definitively rejected by the medical profession for the past four decades. On more than one occasion, we’ve learned of supposedly successful examples of this therapy who realized years later that their efforts to pretend that they were sexually attracted to the opposite sex were a fraud. Indeed, last year Exodus International, one of the most well-known organizations that promoted this so-called “ex-gay” therapy closed its doors after 37 years of operation and issued an apology for promoting an idea that its founders now recognized as fundamentally wrong. On the right, however, the ideas that underlie this “anti-gay therapy” maintain quite a strong hold, and they are enhanced by religion:

[Texas Eagle Forum President Cattie] Adams told CNN in a phone interview she was introduced to reparative treatment by a constituent in her precinct who claimed he was a gay man who is now straight because of such treatment.

“I do not think homosexuals are born as homosexuals,” Adams said.

“To say this is an unchangeable thing, there are too many people who’ve changed their mind about homosexuality. No one can change the color of their skin or change the place they’re born, but they can definitely choose their lifestyles,” she added.

The issues here are fairly straightforward. As a general rule, I would say that there is nothing that the state can or should do in the case of an adult who voluntarily chooses to undergo this so-called reparative therapy regardless of whether or not it is scientifically valid or good for them. There are plenty of things that we allow adults to do that aren’t necessarily good for them and I don’t seem much of a reason why this shouldn’t be one of them. At the same time, though, I think it is entirely proper to ban therapy such as this when it involves minors who are not legally capable of consenting to such treatment on their own. More often than not, parents who attempt to force this therapy on their children are doing so based on incomplete, scientifically invalid information that is more often based in bias and superstition than it is science. There’s no reason why children should be forced to undergo something like this under those circumstances. Additionally, I think it would be entirely proper for the state to place regulations on professionals licensed by the state forbidding them from engaging in this therapy, or at least forbidding them from making any claims that it has psychological, medical, or psychiatric validity. If someone wants to open a “pray away the gay” clinic on their own without putting themselves out there as a licensed professional, that’s a different story. If they operate under the imprimatur of the state, though, they shouldn’t be permitted to engage in false treatments any more than a physicians should be permitted to engage in false medical treatment.

The platform plank adopted by the Texas GOP is, obviously, motivated by the moves in New Jersey, California, and elsewhere to ban the therapy as applied to minors, and it reads as follows:

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin.

Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.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.

There’s more here than just support for s0-called “reparative therapy,” of course. This plank also at least implicitly calls for opposition to same-sex marriage, opposition to adoption by gays and lesbians, and opposition to practically any public policy designed to ensure that gays and lesbians are treated equally. It also endorses the idea that religious belief should be a sufficient defense to generally applicable laws against discrimination in public accommodations or services. Obviously, this will be considered great news by the conservative base of the Texas Republican Party, but it just tends to reinforce the idea that the Republican Party is backward and out of step when it comes to issues like this.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If I wasn’t an atheist I would definitely try to “pray away” the Christian Right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. al-Ameda says:

    With respect to Texas Eagle Forum President, Cattie Adams, this says it all:

    “I do not think …. ” Adams said.

    To be fair, I did not quote her words entirely accurately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. James Pearce says:

    To say this is an unchangeable thing, there are too many people who’ve changed their mind about homosexuality. No one can change the color of their skin or change the place they’re born, but they can definitely choose their lifestyles,” she added.

    Well, that’s true….

    My Mom tried to live as a good Christian housewife for a long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, once again we learn that people on the right are ignorant, cruel and contemptuous of anyone different from themselves.

    How many more years of this, Doug, before you accept the obvious fact that for all your Libertarianism, you don’t belong with those people, and should not be helping them to hold onto their destructive power? Every time you vote GOP, or vote LP in a close race, you’re actively aiding those people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: I wonder how many times Republicans accuse him of aiding Democrats every time he votes LP?

    @James Pearce: And then she decided she’d rather be happy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. @michael reynolds:

    Why do you care about this so much?

    I’ve made my disagreements with conservatives exceedingly clear.

    I have also made my disagreements with Democrats on economic policy and other issues exceedingly clear.

    I wouldn’t want to be a Democrat any more than I’d want to be a Republican.

    That’s why I don’t belong to any political party at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  7. anjin-san says:

    I have also made my disagreements with Democrats on economic policy

    If you could wave a magic wand and go back to the day before Obama took office to avoid having to deal with the last 5 years of Democratic economic policy, would you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Gustopher says:

    Is there effective reparative therapy for being a Republican?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  9. @anjin-san:

    I think Obama has, on balance, been as bad a President as his predecessor. So, yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    If you could wave a magic wand and go back to the day before Obama took office to avoid having to deal with the last 5 years of Democratic economic policy, would you?

    Well heck yeah. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go back to those heady days when the economy was shedding jobs at a rate of over 700,000 per month, and people were already ginning up the “he’s not an authentic American, he’s not eligible to be our president” campaign. Those were the good old days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. Stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m just happy that Doug doesn’t actually vote for the evil. I no longer ever expect him to vote for the good.
    Ever notice that Doug never, ever gives Obama credit for the remarkable advance of gay rights during his Administration? Apparently, that automatically happened, with no help or input from Obama or Holder. Meanwhile he gets overjoyed when any member of the party of his choice- the Republicans- expresses anything other than contempt for gays.
    The plain and simple of it is that the Democrats have led on gay rights, the Republicans have been implacably opposed, and the libertarians have been irrelevant.Doug seems OK with being irrelevant, so….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  12. Ben says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I think Obama has, on balance, been as bad a President as his predecessor.

    Hell, I’m a liberal and I would agree with this statement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  13. Matt says:

    @Ben: For different reasons..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. @Stonetools:

    It is possible to be involved in politics, by expressing opinions on policy issues, without being a bootlicking Democrat or Republican. If not being one of those makes me “irrelevant” then so be it.

    Now, can we get back to the subject matter of this post?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I care because politics is numbers. People sitting on the sidelines are not adding their numbers to making the world any less disappointing. At risk of sounding sadly naive, I care about making the world a better place.

    The Democratic Party is a poor instrument to use in pursuit of that goal, but it’s the best tool we’ve got. Democrats may be all kinds of fool, but Doug, but they are trying, however incompetently, to promote goals with which you fundamentally agree: that all humans are created equal, and that we have certain basic rights. Democrats are not pushing to use the coercive power of the state to engage in Soviet style reprogramming of helpless children.

    I understand that you resent being forced into a dichotomy that leaves you twisting between two camps, both of which you have issues with. I don’t like it much myself, but it is what it is. This is the world. These are the choices. And you either try to make the world a better place, or you sit on the sidelines and snipe at those who are trying.

    I write kid’s books, and have kids of my own, so despite advancing years, I’m still pointed forward. I still want to do whatever my limited talents and abilities allow, to make the world a little better in the future. I’m an optimist. I still have hope. Even for stubborn libertarians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  16. @michael reynolds:

    That’s how you see it. I disagree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  17. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Ok, let’s get back to the subject of the post-the Republicans’ implacable opposition to gay rights. Can you seriously say Obama was “as bad a President as his predecessor” on that issue?
    Wouldn’t it be a good idea to vote out Republicans who espouse such “therapy” rather to plead for them to “see reason” , as you seem to want to do?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. Stonetools,

    Obviously not, but I am not a single-issue voter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  19. stonetools says:

    @Ben:

    Hell, I’m a liberal and I would agree with this statement.

    Well, you may be a liberal but you probably aren’t gay. I don’t think any gay person would agree with that statement-including the head of the Log Cabin Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. CSK says:

    The assumption that the Republican Party, nationally, is unanimous in opposition to gay people isn’t correct. Here in Massachusetts Richard Tisei, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, who was picked by Charlie Baker to be his running mate, is openly gay and has lived with the same man for decades.

    Everybody knows. No one cares.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Oh well, progress. You agree that Obama is good for something, at least. I am a little disappointed that despite the great things Obama has done for gay rights, the best you can come up with is that he was “better than Bush”, but I know how much it cost you to say anything good about the man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. stonetools says:

    @CSK:

    There are a dwindling handful of sane Northeast Republicans -the tattered remnant of a once great force.
    Did you know back in 1970 New York Republican Jacob Javits supported a universal health insurance bill propounding “Medicare for All”? Good times!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. James Pearce says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    And then she decided she’d rather be happy?

    It was very close to that. It was more like she decided to be who she is and quit lying to people. Once she made her decision, it didn’t make her “happy” so much as eliminate a recurring source of unhappiness.

    Obviously I think these fundamentalist churches should go back to their old ways: Don’t try and “cure’ the gays. Just go back to shunning them.

    This does not cause gay believers to become atheists. It causes them to find more accepting churches.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. jewelbomb says:

    I think Obama has, on balance, been as bad a President as his predecessor

    That point of view is — frankly — insane. Did President Obama start two unwinnable wars costing untold American resources and opportunity? Did he preside over the biggest economic meltdown in recent memory?

    Do you even take yourself seriously, or do you just type this stuff and hope no one notices how kooky it is?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  25. CSK says:

    @stonetools:

    Yep, I knew that. Another thing that makes Massachusetts politics the unending source of entertainment that it is is that our Democratic state legislators, most of whom are practicing Roman Catholics, are quite clearly very uncomfortable with gay issues and reproductive rights, whereas their Republican counterparts (the few that exist) are pro-gay and pro-reproductive rights.

    It’s not an exact split, but it’s fair to say that Massachusetts Republicans are conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues, and Massachusetts Democrats (on the state level) are liberal on fiscal issues and conservative on social ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. stonetools says:

    @James Pearce:

    This does not cause gay believers to become atheists. It causes them to find more accepting churches.

    It would surprise a lot of posters here, but there are a growing number of accepting churches out there. There are even with for a DADT policy that many gay church members can live with. Christianity is reassessing , like the rest of the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. stonetools says:

    @stonetools:

    Er, that should have been “even more churches with a DADT policy”. I’m typing in a hurry, sorry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. CSK says:

    @stonetools:

    I hate to keep dragging Massachusetts into the discourse, but the minister who presided over the funeral of my recently deceased and agnostic mother is openly gay, and has a husband. There have been for years Protestant, Jewish, and even some Roman Catholic congregations that welcome gay people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. James Pearce says:

    @stonetools:

    It would surprise a lot of posters here, but there are a growing number of accepting churches out there.

    My Mom used to go to a church headed by two women. I used to call it the Church of the Holy Rolling Lesbians.

    Of course, I didn’t mean it pejoratively. The description was quite apt, actually.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. michael reynolds says:

    There are a lot of Christians (and a handful of Republicans) who take seriously the wild notion that they should love and not judge. Others think that idea came from Karl Marx or the devil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Glad to see that, unlike them, you are immune from painting your political opponents with such a broad brush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  32. DrDaveT says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I think Obama has, on balance, been as bad a President as his predecessor.

    Wow. Really?

    Could you enumerate for me the things on Obama’s side of the ledger that you think weigh equally with the Iraq war, the home loan bubble and crash, the subsequent general financial crash, authorizing torture of prisoners, the Patriot Act, the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted on canceled defense programs that delivered nothing at all, the No Child Permitted Ahead Act, and the unaffordable prescription drug benefit? One of us is missing something big here, and if it’s me I’d like to know.

    Don’t mistake me — I’m VERY disappointed in Obama. But there’s bad, and there’s catastrophic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @DrDaveT:

    We should have a new Godwin’s Law Spin: Any writer who unfavorably compares any president but Richard Nixon with George W. Bush, is in violation of clear standards of objectivity.

    There have been only two presidents in my life time who simply had no business being in the White House: the criminal Dick Nixon and the buffoon George W. Bush. There are others I haven’t liked, but those are the two that materially and morally hurt this country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The size of the brush depends on the amount of area you have to cover. Far too many Christians in this country don’t give a sh!t for anything Jesus Christ ever said, or was reported to have said. I didn’t make them narrow-minded, anti-intellectual and cruel, they do that all by themselves. I’m rather an admirer of Jesus H. I don’t think he was God, but he was a wise rabbi, way ahead of his time, a shrewd judge of humanity. If more Christians actually started paying attention to Jesus, I’d be happy to have them think he’s the son of God. Instead way too many Christians cherry-pick their doctrines in such a way as to empower themselves and screw anyone not themselves.

    I like to call things what they are. I don’t care if that seems “unfair” if it’s true. Phony balance is for big media, I’m not big media, I’m just a writer and my obligation is to tell the truth as I see it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree that there are lot of people who practice what I call “highlighter fundamentalism”. But even among those, I would have a hard describing most of them as “ignorant, cruel and contemptuous of anyone different from themselves.” You’re talking about one of the sectors of the population that does enormous charity work, donates massively to causes, volunteers heavily. This includes doing a lot for people who don’t look anything like them.

    I lived in Texas for five years. In rural Texas. Two of my friends/coworkers were a lesbian couple who regularly went to church. They were never treated with contempt or hatred. When one got pregnant through artificial means, the church ladies threw a shower for them. This was in a very conservative part of Texas (although more of a Texas “live and let live” conservatism).

    They — and it a small sector of they, not the entire right — are endorsing a horrifying idea in this case (although conversion therapy was mainstream as recently as the 1980’s). But I don’t think that’s going to last very long. To slide a bit: support for gay marriage among Republicans has doubled in the last few years, now to the point where it was with liberals a decade ago. Even among self-described conservatives, it’s at 30%. Opposition among Republican politicians is crumbling very fast. A majority of Catholics — the largest Christian denomination — support it. I personally know people who vehemently opposed it five years ago who think it should be legal today. Practically the only group holding out are evangelicals and even there cracks are appearing.

    I don’t think this is a reflection of a fundamentally callous nature. I think it’s more a reflection of a natural human tendency to resist change and a quite common tendency to fall back on religion to back it up (along with some ignorance of what conversion therapy entails). In time that will erode. I think it erodes faster when we don’t write people off as motivated entirety by cruelty and malice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. Franklin says:

    So apparently the Texas GOP thinks people should be free to select their own medical care. Super. I assume that extends to women who have been raped or whose health is threatened by a pregnancy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  37. Mu says:

    @Doug Mataconis: The one reason I think Doug is right is that I’m starting to believe the president when he states he found out about xyz from the news. Unlike his predecessor who knew he needed help and found competent people to surround him Obama is holding on to a clique of incompetents that shield him from direct responsibility, whatever the cost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    There was never a time I was against gay marriage. There was a time when I hadn’t thought about it, then a time when I heard it suggested, then immediately after came the time when I shrugged and said, “Sure, why not?”

    An awful lot of people reach that same inflection point and think, “I don’t like that. Those people are doing a bad thing. I’m going to stop them.”

    I think if you reach that point and go their way, it’s because you are narrow and yes, cruel. I’m not saying they’re Hitler. I’m not saying they are beyond redemption. But I am saying that something went wrong in their capacity for compassion or simple empathy. There’s an astounding arrogance in telling another adult citizen of the United States who they can and cannot spend their lives with. It is cruel to tell people they cannot be with the person they love.

    Generally my impression is that imagination is the element lacking in people of the right. They are not able to project themselves into situations, or imagine their loved ones in those situations. It’s like people who lack a sense of humor, who are never quite going to get it. What a great many Christians lack is the capacity for the love of the other – of the Samaritan – that their god preached.

    Now, again, that doesn’t make them bad people necessarily, but lack of empathy, a sort of politically-empowered Aspergers, does mean you’re more likely to be an aszhole to other people, with the likelihood of aszholery proportional to the distance the individual feels from the object of suggested empathy.

    There are other Christians, of course. Many, many, many of the righteous among nations were Christians who so absorbed their faith’s teaching that they risked their freedom and their lives to protect others different from themselves. And there are religious out there right now feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and generally behaving like actual Christians. If those people represented Christianity as a whole, I’d be ashamed not to join them.

    Fortunately for my smug atheism, most Christians are un-affected by their professed faith. Others use their faith to justify their hates. Others actually act like Christians. But not many of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @Mu:

    Unlike his predecessor who knew he needed help and found competent people to surround him

    This caused me actual, physical pain. Cheney? Rumsfeld? Seriously?

    Seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  40. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “Any writer who unfavorably compares any president but Richard Nixon with George W. Bush, is in violation of clear standards of objectivity.”

    No, I reserve the right to include Andrew Johnson and Warren G. Harding in their company.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We should have a new Godwin’s Law Spin: Any writer who unfavorably compares any president but Richard Nixon with George W. Bush, is in violation of clear standards of objectivity.

    Jackson and Harding spring to mind. I think Bush was the in the top two worst presidents of my lifetime, but he didn’t come close to actively perpetrating genocide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    I call those people black letter christians, they seem to skim over all the bits in red.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  43. Grewgills says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Damn it, you beat me to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  44. DrDaveT says:

    @Moosebreath:

    No, I reserve the right to include Andrew Johnson and Warren G. Harding in their company.

    Don’t forget James Buchanan. But yes, GWB makes the shortest of short lists, and dominates the post-WW2 USA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. jd says:

    The major parties’ opinions on my son’s life.

    The Republican 2012 platform: “A Sacred Contract: Defense of Marriage That is why Congressional Republicans took the lead in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of States and the federal government not to recognize same-sex relationships licensed in other jurisdictions. The current Administration’s open defiance of this constitutional principle—in its handling of immigration cases, in federal personnel benefits, in allowing a same-sex marriage at a military base, and in refusing to defend DOMA in the courts—makes a mockery of the President’s inaugural oath. We commend the United States House of Representatives and State Attorneys General who have defended these laws when they have been attacked in the courts. We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. We applaud the citizens of the majority of States which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and
    we support the campaigns underway in several other States to do so.”

    The Democratic 2012 platform: “Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference. We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.”

    Who do you think I’LL vote for?!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. KM says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I don’t think this is a reflection of a fundamentally callous nature. I think it’s more a reflection of a natural human tendency to resist change and a quite common tendency to fall back on religion to back it up (along with some ignorance of what conversion therapy entails). In time that will erode. I think it erodes faster when we don’t write people off as motivated entirety by cruelty and malice.

    A wonderful sentiment. A fine example of taking the high road. Kudos for your kindness.

    They are still trying to oppress people. No matter what misguided reason they may have, they are still trying to take away a fundamental right available to every other American simply because it doesn’t fit into their moral schema. A well-intentioned villain is still a villain to his victims. They need to understand that history is not going to think well of them even if they had the best of intentions – quite frankly, I’m of the moral opinion that God isn’t going to think too kindly of them and they will have some explaining to do at the Gate. They may not be bad people but they are certainly doing something bad to their fellow Americans right now. Remember what the road to Hell is paved with.

    You’re talking about one of the sectors of the population that does enormous charity work, donates massively to causes, volunteers heavily. This includes doing a lot for people who don’t look anything like them.

    Yes, yes they do. Because they think it’s expected of them to get into heaven or because “God said so”. I find it difficult when someone points to how “generous” people of faith are. I don’t hear Muslims getting mad props for zakat, even if it’s a pillar of Islam, but a Christian who tithes is consider especially pious. You don’t get brownie points for running the soup kitchen when you’re doing it to save your soul, not your neighbor. That should be a basic matter of fact and a way of life to give the shirt of your back, not social bragging rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  47. mantis says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Opposition among Republican politicians is crumbling very fast.

    Not in Texas (or many other states), as this post points out.

    In states where Republicans dominate, politicians are as anti-gay as they ever were. They are this way because their voters demand it and because it wins elections. You’ll find that the states where Republican politicians are not anti-gay are states where Democrats dominate and such positions lead to failure at the ballot except in the backwater districts.

    This is not a sign that opposition is crumbling among Republicans, but rather the opposite. They are entrenched. The only progress in most red states in the past few years, which have seen enormous progress towards equality nationally, have been the result of federal judges overturning laws that the Republicans in those states still support. They are now looking for new ways to punish gays that get around the federal courts. Nationally, we are getting very close. In most red states, we’ve got decades of dead-enders holding the line to look forward to. It’s the same song we heard before in the struggle for civil rights for African Americans.

    I’m happy you knew some Texas conservatives that were decent people. They are obviously in the minority. I predict they will stay that way for a while.

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  48. Matt Bernius says:

    @mantis:

    I’m happy you knew some Texas conservatives that were decent people. They are obviously in the minority. I predict they will stay that way for a while.

    It’s a little more complex than that — and it gets to the challenge of these situations.

    People can be extremely friend to *individuals* within X group and still not supportive of collective rights. It’s one of the reasons people who have less than stellar views of say, African Americans as a whole, love Chris Rock’s famed “I hate Nig*ers” routine.

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  49. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The problem with this and with KM’s “villains” description is that the Democratic Party opposed gay marriage until relatively recently. Not just on the official level, but in the ranks. As recently as a decade ago, a large majority of Democrats opposed it. Obama opposed it. The Clintons opposed it. Bill Clinton signed DOMA. Were they villains then? Were they callous and uncaring about people who are different from them? Or were they throwing gays under the bus for political gain? Which is worse?

    This is my problem with branding people like this. It’s not like anti-gay sentiment was invented by Pat Robertson in the 1980’s. There’s a history here. Conversion therapy was mainstream until the 1980’s. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until the 1970’s. Alan Turing was hounded to suicide for being gay. Were these people callous and uncaring and indifferent? Were the tens of millions of Democrats who opposed gay rights callous and vile? Are black people, whose support for gay rights lags that of Democrats by twenty points, more callous to gay people? Are the hundreds of millions who live in countries where homosexuality is still a crime hateful and incapable of empathy?

    I honestly don’t see using this issue as an argument that the right is cruel and incapable of caring for people different from them as any different from the claim that the left is amoral. It’s simply taking an issue, proclaiming it an absolute moral good and then claiming superiority because you got there first.

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  50. mantis says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until the 1970′s. Alan Turing was hounded to suicide for being gay. Were these people callous and uncaring and indifferent?

    The people responsible were, yes. Turing, BTW, was chemically castrated by those barbarians.

    Are black people, whose support for gay rights lags that of Democrats by twenty points, more callous to gay people?

    As a group, yes.

    Are the hundreds of millions who live in countries where homosexuality is still a crime hateful and incapable of empathy?

    Are those countries democratic? It matters.

    You know what else matters? Opinion vs. voting behavior. Many on the right vote for candidates because, at least in part, of their anti-gay views and pledges to enshrine inequality in the law. Democrats don’t really do that apart from some areas of the south that are not the norm, even if some of them hold anti-equality opinions. The Republican party has anti-gay policy as a platform plank, and reelected GWB on the strength of anti-gay motivated voting.

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  51. Grewgills says:

    @KM:

    You don’t get brownie points for running the soup kitchen when you’re doing it to save your soul, not your neighbor.

    You don’t get to blame the person for bad acts justified by religion then give them no credit for good acts inspired by religion. Choose one or the other, to do different is to twist your argument to suit a prejudice against the religious.
    I am a strong supporter of equal protection for homosexuals including marriage rights, but to pretend that one group coming late to the party makes them uniquely villainous is not reasonable, particularly when the reason for doing so is all to often to whitewash the terrible record of the other party that until relatively recently was also terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I think the majority of Republicans and Evangelicals are dead wrong on the issue and need to be held account, but let’s not pretend one side are angels and the other devils.

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  52. KM says:

    I honestly don’t see using this issue as an argument that the right is cruel and incapable of caring for people different from them as any different from the claim that the left is amoral. It’s simply taking an issue, proclaiming it an absolute moral good and then claiming superiority because you got there first.

    I’m not claiming the right is cruel or that anyone has superiority for getting there first at all. I’m pointing out that one can be a good person and still do bad things. This is not a contest but it’s interesting you see it that way. I don’t have any particular pity for those who want sympathy for themselves because they are having “moral issues” when they are actively causing trouble for others. I don’t really care that they are late to the party and have a really good excuse. As you pointed out, everyone is late to this particular party. As long as you get there eventually, it’s all good – just don’t whine when the chips are gone and everyone’s asking where the hell you’ve been.

    I can’t feel bad for someone who’s got the protection of the law complaining about how fast the world is changing and how uncomfortable its making them when there are people who in 2014 are still being treated like second class citizens under the law. I can’t feel bad because someone’s faith is so weak they must deny another child of god, because someone’s marriage is so weak the gay couple down the street is a threat, because they are so uncomfortable about their bodies and sex that they’re rather tell people to not kiss or hold hands in public rather then explain to their kids how Bobby can like Dan.

    They want brownie points for being dragged to the table. They want this to be about their feelings and ability to cope rather then about someone else’s god given rights. And they don’t want anyone pointing out that’s kinda selfish of them in public because that makes them feel/look bad. You are allowed to have a moral crisis on your own time – you don’t have the right to drag others into it.

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  53. Grewgills says:

    My response to Mantis was spam filtered.

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  54. KM says:

    @Grewgills:

    You don’t get to blame the person for bad acts justified by religion then give them no credit for good acts inspired by religion.

    No but I do get to blame them when they trot it out for political or social gain. It was brought originally to justify why we should give religious people a break on treating gays badly because they treat others well. Like one cancels out the other. Like if they are good in one part of their lives this other part should get handwaved on how it’s affecting others. Like its OK they are denying gays rights or basic humanity because they donated X amount of money and time to charity so they’re one up in the moral stakes. Jesus had quite a bit to say about people who acted like that, something they should be well aware of.

    You do good for good’s sake. You do good to do the Lord’s work. You do good to help your community.

    You don’t do good as future cred against being a jerk. You don’t do good as a pass to do bad. You don’t do good to be able to wave around how good you are, how righteous. How hard is this to understand?

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  55. Grewgills says:

    @KM:
    You have decided that you can look into their minds and conclude that the good they do is only out of fear of punishment or desire for future gain and so negated the good they do. That is what I was calling you out on. That some of them are also ignorant or intolerant doesn’t negate the good they do anymore than the good they do gives them a pass on the bad. Making a blanket statement that they are callous and uncaring because they are ignorantly bigoted against one group is I think unfair. Keep in mind that this simple dichotomy that it seems like you and Mantis are buying in to makes far better than 90% of the humans that ever lived callous and uncaring. Doing so seems to me to rob those words of any useful meaning.

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  56. mantis says:

    @Grewgills:

    Keep in mind that this simple dichotomy that it seems like you and Mantis are buying in to makes far better than 90% of the humans that ever lived callous and uncaring.

    While callous and uncaring are not the words I would choose, and in this context are meant as directed towards a group as opposed to broad qualities, but yes I do maintain a Hobbesian view of humanity. I believe all humans are prone to viewing groups outside their own with suspicion, enmity, and disdain. This is reinforced or combated by society and groupings within society. As society becomes more interconnected and less reliant on tribal groupings, the arc of history continuesnto bend towards justice for the various “other” and minority groups.

    But I wouldn’t laugh at the notion that 90% of all humans to ever live were callous and uncaring toward the “others” in their own societies. Take a look through human history for voluminous evidence of such.

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    There’s a history here. Conversion therapy was mainstream until the 1980′s. Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness until the 1970′s. Alan Turing was hounded to suicide for being gay. Were these people callous and uncaring and indifferent? Were the tens of millions of Democrats who opposed gay rights callous and vile?

    There’s another history…Jim Crow was mainstream in the South until the 1960s. Blacks as a group were considered inferior to whites for much of this nation’s history. Were the people who held those views and believed in those laws callous and uncaring and indifferent? Were the millions of Democrats (primarily in the South) and conservatives who opposed rights for black people callous and vile?

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  58. Grewgills says:

    @mantis:

    But I wouldn’t laugh at the notion that 90% of all humans to ever live were callous and uncaring toward the “others” in their own societies. Take a look through human history for voluminous evidence of such.

    I think that blanket condemnation robs the words or their meaning and in the end means that somewhere down the line you will probably be put in that group as societal standards shift.

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  59. Rafer Janders says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Were these people callous and uncaring and indifferent?

    Um, yes. On this issue at least, yes, they were.

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  60. Grewgills says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Saying someone is callous, uncaring, and indifferent on an issue is a far cry from saying they are callous, uncaring, and indifferent full stop.
    For instance, some Vietnam war protesters were callous, uncaring, and indifferent to the hardships of returning veterans. Would it be fair to portray them as callous, uncaring, and indifferent in general?

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  61. mantis says:

    @Grewgills:

    I think that blanket condemnation robs the words or their meaning and in the end means that somewhere down the line you will probably be put in that group as societal standards shift.

    What blanket condemnation? That human civilizations have, throughout history, dehumanized, stigmatized, oppressed, enslaved, or otherwise terrorized groups within and outside of their cultures? That there’s a fact.

    As for my own status, I’m extremely fortunate to live in the time and place I do, where we have made great progress, all of it very recently in the scope of human history, to eliminate these barbaric relics of human culture. It’s been a bumpy road, and there’s still a ways to go (a bit further for Texas than most). And this progress, and my privileged life that it grants, is by no means secure. We must keep it, or lose it.

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  62. Grewgills says:

    @mantis:
    Every time and place thinks themselves closer to perfection than later generations see them. I fully understand your point and as the father of a 7 month old baby girl I certainly would not have wanted her to be born to any earlier time or to any place in this time outside of a Western style democracy. My point is people are terrible at recognizing their own sins and that likely in 50 or 100 years we will look as bad to the people then as people 50 to 100 years ago look to us. Perhaps it’s me being charitable, or perhaps it is just selfishness that has me not wanting to be labeled vile by standards I have yet to encounter.

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  63. KM says:

    @Grewgills:

    Making a blanket statement that they are callous and uncaring because they are ignorantly bigoted against one group is I think unfair.

    Except that’s not what I said – that’s you reading into it and making a few defensive blanket statements yourself. I specifically said that one can be a good person and still do bad things. . I didn’t make a blanket generalization by saying they are always cruel or callous, I noted first action =/= character and then I made a specific reference to the fact that people of faith’s generosity and charity works were brought up by others on this very thread as character defense and to offer excuses. These are mostly likely good people who do good works for their communities. That is not being denied. I’m simply pointing out I don’t care if they’ve saved a hundred lives single-handedly on an hourly basis – that has absolutely nothing to do with how they are acting on this one issue.

    Ignorance is not an excuse because actions have consequences regardless of whether or not you understand them. Ignorance is not a magic get out of jail free card for society when it hurts others. Fire still burns even if you don’t know to touch it. Wandering out into traffic can still kill a child even if they only wanted their ball back. Someone who dies because of a bystander’s ignorance of CPR will still be dead. Our fellow Americans are being mistreated with real consequences in their lives because some people are unknowingly ignorant or willfully ignorant. They are still hurting people with their behavior and therein lies the sin I’m trying to point out.

    Love the sinner, hate the sin, remember? Well this is hating the sin.

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