Last night, CNN's Anderson Cooper devoted a segment on AC360 to discussing the Texas Republican Party's new platform, which declares that homosexuality "tears at the fabric of society" and endorses the discredited and dangerous practice of "ex-gay" therapy.
Cooper's guest, Republican Texas State Rep. Bryan Hughes, defended the plank, framing it as a matter of fairness. Raw Story reports:
Hughes told Cooper that the language was adopted in response to concerns from a delegate's neighbor that the therapy "might be taken away," saying it had worked for him. Hughes did not identify the delegate who took the story to party leaders.
"The language is in the platform because we want to make sure that people have rights," Hughes explained. "We heard from people who wanted access to that kind of counseling, that kind of therapy, and so we believe in free speech, in free choice."
Hughes then disingenuously claimed that the efficacy of "ex-gay" therapy was a matter of debate. "From what I've read," Hughes said, "there's medical literature on both sides of the issue..." But Anderson was having none of it and cut Hughes off to interject:
"But there's really not. It's really just not accurate to say that doctors are evenly divided [on whether or not 'ex-gay' therapy works]. I could give you a list: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers... they represent half a million mental health professionals, [and] they all say [homosexuality] is not a mental disorder and is not something that needs to be cured."
Hughes basically responded that that's nice and all, but since some members of those organizations feel differently, their groundless opinions should be given the same weight and deference as the consensus of the vast majority of their peers and literally every major mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals.
Cooper showed footage of his interview with Alan Chambers, who for years headed the "ex-gay" group Exodus International, and brought up the fact that even Chambers now admits that this "therapy" doesn't work and actually harms people.
"Does it concern you," Cooper asked Hughes, "...that your party is now backing a form of therapy which basically every major medical organization says doesn't work, can be harmful, and which many of the people who have been through it say... doesn't work and is bad for kids?"
Hughes doubled down and claimed that Texas Republicans had heard from other "experts" (likely on the payroll of the anti-gay religious right) that this "therapy" actually did work. And he took issue with one of Chambers' statements:
"No one is saying that God doesn't love people as they are. There's nothing in the platform about that; no one is trying to take that position. Every one of us makes mistakes, makes decisions we're not proud of. God loves each one of us, and he offers us a way for us to deal with sin and with bad choices..."
Anderson shot back: "The fact that you view being gay -- or you characterize it -- as a 'mistake,' or something that should be changed really kind of maybe says more about your position than what your words actually say."
Game, set, match.
Watch the fireworks after the break.