Over the weekend, the Republican Party of Texas laid out its beliefs in 26 pages, including its support of several different types of discrimination, its usual positions on the unborn and undocumented immigrants, and its immense disrespect for the federal government. It's a platform composed of 266 policy goals that every single state Republican delegate voted for and approved.
The 2016 platform (the party compiles one every couple of years), however, is in some ways confusing. It begins by stating it believes that government must be "restrained from intruding on the freedoms of its citizens" and exists to protect rights, not grant them. But once you make it to the section titled "STRENGTHENING FAMILIES, PROTECTING LIFE, AND PROMOTING HEALTH," it is rather clear that it would like to restrict the rights of gay and transgender people as much as possible.
The Republicans say that "homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples." Therefore, it wants to take away their right to marriage by overturning the U.S. Supreme Court case that granted it nationwide, and wants to make sure that anyone in Texas who seeks to discriminate against gay people won't face any consequences. The platform also seeks to ensure there are no restrictions on "counseling and therapy" designed to "change" someone's sexual orientation.
As for transgender people, you guessed it: Texas Republicans want to police bathrooms by preventing transgender people from using the restroom that best fits their gender identity, which is generally affirmed by a court of law. Republican leadership is so committed to this goal, in fact, that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he would be willing to flush more than $3 billion in federal education funding down the toilet just so he could ignore President Barack Obama's directive to school districts not to discriminate against transgender students by denying them access to the right bathroom.
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Support for discrimination doesn't end with the LGBTQ community. In order to defeat terrorism, the Republican Party would like to support the "reasonable use of profiling," though "reasonable" is never defined. It would also like to call on all government agencies to sever ties with "all radical Islamic organizations, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations."
Further, the Texas GOP would like to "strengthen American identity," which "includes the contribution and
assimilation of diverse racial and ethnic groups."
Elsewhere in the platform, the Texas GOP makes it known that it believes "climate change" is "a political agenda promoted to control every aspect of our lives," pledging Texans "protection from extreme environmentalists." It says it won't support a Medicaid expansion for more than one million uninsured Texans (see the consequences of that here). It wants sex ed teachers to teach abstinence until marriage and opposes all curriculum that in any way makes kids think being gay or transgender is okay. Before it can secure a total ban on abortions, it wants to ban the morning-after pill, and doesn't want condoms distributed in schools. It wants to eliminate all "no-gun zones" and pass constitutional carry. And the party also seeks to deny undocumented immigrants any non-emergency health care or access to any social or educational programs.
Oh yeah, and it wants to build that wall, without any plan for how it would be funded. Sound familiar? This weekend was also, in many ways, about coming to terms with the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump — though not everyone was quite as vocal and unified about that. Governor Greg Abbott wouldn't even say his name.