Yesterday RNC chairman Reince Priebus flatly denied that ex-gay torture is part of the 2016 GOP platform even though it was preliminarily approved last week thanks to Tony Perkins. From the Associated Press:
Priebus denied that language inserted into a draft of the party platform encourages “conversion therapy,” which religious conservatives believe can stop gay people from being gay. The new language, which has yet to be adopted by the full convention, reads, “We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children.”
Asked whether the Republican Party supports “conversion therapy,” Priebus charged, “It’s not in the platform.” GOP officials are eager to shift the focus of next week’s event away from divisive social issues. Such issues, while popular with conservatives who wield outsize influence in Republican primary contests, are less popular among the more moderate voters and independents who typically decide general elections.
Last week TIME Magazine reported:
An amendment offered by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in the subcommittee on healthcare, education, and crime offered support for the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” for children who identify as LGBT.
“We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children,” the amendment said. Perkins originally drafted a more explicit embrace of the practice, but amended the text after consultations with top RNC officials.
Last week CNN reported:
Perkins also won a bid to add the word “therapy” to the platform, making it read “we support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment or therapy for their minor children.” That was read as a move to allow conversion therapy, a controversial practice that attempts to convert youths away from being gay, that has been banned by some state and local governments.
“It’s what it says, it’s whatever therapy that a parent wants to get for a minor child,” Perkins said when asked about the change. “There’s states that are trying to restrict what parents can do for loving their children. Parents have a better idea I think than legislators or government bureaucrats.”
The cited language is ambiguous and does not expressly identify conversion by name, but many onlookers nonetheless believe there is no other reasonable interpretation of Perkins’ proposal. The draft faces at least two more tests before officially becoming part the party’s platform, and thus far its myriad issues remained unapproved.