Skip to main content

Why is Texas GOP backing gay conversion therapy?

By Melody Moezzi
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The Rev. Tony Larsen and his partner, Craig Matheus, are refused a marriage license by Racine County Clerk Wendy Christensen, right, in the clerk's office in Racine, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 13. The county does not grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a judge's ruling that the state ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
HIDE CAPTION
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
Same-sex marriage in U.S.
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Texas GOP endorsed "reparative therapy" to convert gays to straight orientation
  • Melody Moezzi says such therapy isn't recognized by legitimate science
  • She says two states have banned the therapy for minors
  • Moezzi: Young Republicans are going to be repelled by such decisions

Editor's note: Melody Moezzi is a writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. Her latest book, "Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life," will be available in paperback July 1. Follow her on Twitter @MelodyMoezzi. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- Apparently working under the impression that they understand the science of sexuality better than the World Health Organization or the American Medical or Psychological or Psychiatric associations, Texas Republicans made a bold statement last weekend.

With zero debate, they adopted a party platform that includes support for a widely discredited form of mental health "treatment" known as "reparative therapy." Also called "conversion therapy," this dangerous pseudo-medical practice aimed at transforming homosexuals into heterosexuals has been widely demonstrated to be both ineffective and harmful, not to mention offensive.

The clearly misguided assumption underlying such therapy is the belief (often reinforced by self-serving interpretations of any number of religious texts) that homosexuality is a disease. However, much like drapetomania (the pseudo-scientific "disease" an enterprising white man conveniently identified in the mid-19th century was described as the condition that led black slaves to attempt escape), homosexuality is in fact not an illness, but rather a fact of human nature. And rejecting human nature can have devastating effects on the psyche, demonstrating that if there is a real disease that needs fixing here, it's homophobia, not homosexuality.

Melody Moezzi
Melody Moezzi

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth experience significantly increased risk for suicide than their heterosexual peers. In fact, as cited by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that provides LGBT youth with crisis intervention and suicide prevention services, LGB youth are four times more likely than their heterosexual peers to attempt suicide, and their attempts are four to six times more likely to result in injuries that require medical attention. Moreover, LGB youth from highly unsupportive families (like the kinds that would be drawn to conversion therapy) are more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide as those from more accepting and supportive households.

Recognizing this, both New Jersey and California have banned conversion therapy for minors, and other states are considering similar initiatives.

State rep defends gay conversion therapy
Texas GOP backs 'reparative therapy'

By explicitly supporting such pseudo-therapy, the Texas Republican party has done more than simply turn a blind eye to science and the potentially deadly consequences of the negative attitudes and self-hatred that such "treatments" reinforce. It has reminded us just how out of touch the Texas GOP can be—not only regarding modern medicine, but also with respect to the future of their own party.

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Republicans under 30 support same-sex marriage. That's only 1 percentage point less than that of Democrats over the age of 65 who support it. In short, the dinosaurs behind embarrassing and discriminatory platforms like this are guaranteeing their own extinction by clinging onto closed-minded convictions that are clearly on the way out.

But there is hope. As it turns out, some of the most seemingly anti-gay individuals are in fact responding to an internalized homophobia in conflict with their own homosexuality. Keeping this and the aforementioned statistics in mind, I propose that Texas Republicans step into the 21st century by adopting a different kind of conversion therapy—namely, one that replaces fear and bigotry with knowledge, acceptance and respect.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:45 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT