Texas Republicans: Homosexuality “a chosen behavior”

Delegates to the Republican Party of Texas, shown cheering here, adopted a platform calling homosexuality a choice.
Delegates to the Republican Party of Texas, shown cheering here, adopted a platform calling homosexuality a choice.

In its latest party platform, the Republican Party of Texas says: "Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans."

The platform, which is a statement of beliefs approved by delegates to the party’s June 5-7, 2014, state convention in Fort Worth, continued: "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 an criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values."

In 2011, PolitiFact in Washington, D.C., explored whether one’s sexual orientation--as opposed to behavior--is chosen. Not so, that review concluded. Meantime, another fact check posted that day rated as Mostly True a claim there’s no scientific conclusion that being gay is genetic.

Our thumbnails:

--In an interview, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said scientists are "in dispute" over whether being gay is a choice. PolitiFact said scientists don’t doubt that it’s possible for someone who’s gay to choose, through sheer willpower, to ignore their impulses and abstain from homosexual activity. Both gay and straight people have been going celibate by choice since time immemorial. But scientists add that for such people, sexual impulses don’t go away.

So, scientists argue, even if sexual behavior is a choice, sexual orientation -- the state of being gay, and the impulses one feels -- is not a choice.

--Pawlenty also said: "There's no scientific conclusion that (being gay) is genetic." On that specific question, PolitiFact found broad agreement that Pawlenty was correct. Scientists said genetics may play a role in determining sexual orientation, but evidence suggests it’s not the dominant factor and may ultimately be shown to play just a modest role.

A modest role is still different from no role. Also, most scientists believe that sexual orientation is caused by biology, rather than by choice.

Now, what did you hear at the convention?