Faith and Family Issues Take Top Priority in Texas Republican Party Platform
Coming off what is likely to be remembered as one of the most unconventional conventions in the history of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT), the Texas Values policy team scored several important victories to keep the party’s platform and legislative priorities list focused on faith, family, and freedom. This was no small feat in a convention full of firsts, including the election of a new state chairman.
By way of recap, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s decision to cancel the convention mere weeks before the year-long planned event and the RPT’s subsequent court losses challenging Mayor Turner’s decision caused the party to move to an online process. This introduced its own set of challenges with attendee credentialing and secure voting requirements.
The first general session got underway on Sunday, July 19th. During this time, the selection of national delegates and presidential electors were prioritized ahead of a hard Monday deadline. By late Sunday night it became clear that the convention was vastly short on time, so a motion was made and approved to hold all remaining business for a second convention. After spending most of August and September troubleshooting technical issues relating to voting, the final voting period on the Platform Committee recommendations was set for Friday, October 2nd through Monday, October 5th. During that time, delegates gave their final approval to the 2020 Legislative Priorities List and Platform.
Legislative Priorities List
The eight items on the Legislative Priorities List were approved by delegates back in July along with national convention delegates and presidential electors. Our primary goal for this list was to have a priority that protected the religious freedom rights of churches, businesses, and other organizations, especially in light of the patchwork of local government pandemic orders restricting those rights. We accomplished that goal. Our team spoke with committee members, testified, and assisted in refining language. As a result, the religious freedom priority was #2 on the list! The approved language reads:
Restore the rights of individuals, organizations, and businesses, to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs by prohibiting local ordinances, state laws, or executive orders that violate those rights.
Two of our other top legislative priorities also made it on the list, including a priority on abolishing the practice of gender transition procedures for minors and a priority to protect preborn children from abortion starting at the moment of fertilization.
Our team worked extensively with the Education and State Affairs Subcommittees, as well as the main Platform Committee (sometimes also called “Resolutions Committee”) to ensure faith and family language stayed in the platform. Our team was also flexible enough to respond to some intense moments where the liberal agenda tried to hijack the platform’s conservative values.
Here are some of the 2020 pro-family and religious freedom planks in the final, approved platform:
Definition of Marriage: We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal, and moral commitment only between one natural man and one natural woman. (Plank 317)
Sexual Education: We demand the State Legislature pass a law prohibiting the teaching of sex education, sexual health, or sexual choice or identity in any public school in any grade whatsoever, or disseminating or permitting the dissemination by any party of any material regarding the same. All school districts, individual schools, or charter schools are prohibited from contracting with or making any payment to any third party for material concerning any of the above topics. Until this prohibition goes into effect, sexual education shall only utilize sexual risk avoidance programs and promote abstinence outside of marriage. Before a student may be provided with human sexuality or family planning instruction, the district must obtain the written consent of the student’s parent or guardian [Opt-In status]. (Plank 144)
Homosexuality: We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin, and we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. No one should be granted special legal status based on their LGBTQ+ identification. (Plank 244)
Gender Identity: We oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity. For the purpose of attempting to affirm a person 21 or under if their perception is inconsistent with their biological sex, no medical practitioner or provider may engage in the following practices:
a. Intervene in any way to prevent natural progression of puberty.
b. Administer or provide opposite sex hormones.
c. Perform any surgery on healthy body parts of the underage person.
In addition to the preceding planks, we are thankful for many more pro-family, pro-religious freedom planks in the RPT Platform. There is much more work to be done on these issues and we look forward to seeing the RPT and other conservative organizations work on these issues in the 87th Legislature. Your Texas Values team will lead out at the Capitol as well, being the voice for conservatives on issues of faith, family, and freedom.