DALLAS — Texas Republicans approved their 2016 platform, weighing in on transgender bathroom rules and many other aspects of American life. Party officials, however, averted determined efforts by some delegates to insert a plank in favor of advocating Texas to secede from the United States.
All 266 of the individual platform planks were approved by the delegates, a GOP spokesman confirmed. These stated policy goals of the Texas Republican Party touch on all aspects of American politics: foreign policy, social issues, border security and the role of government.
There was some intrigue over how the platform would come down, because the convention embraced a new means of voting, with thousands of Texas delegates voting on Friday via secret ballots tallied on optical readers. The results were tabulated overnight Friday.
A platform is a political group’s stated policy beliefs, and at times the intra-party procedural jousting took heated tones inside the convention hall at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
The platform addresses the recent controversy over which public restrooms a transgendered individual must use. Only a week ago, the debate over which public restrooms a transgendered individual must use was restricted mostly to North Carolina
"We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex,” the document stated.
Delegates, however, did not vote on another controversial issue debated within the convention: a nonbinding referendum posing the question of secession to Texas voters.
A band of activists tried time and again over the past two days to insert that language into the party platform. State Republican officials successfully beat back those efforts.
The final attempt came on Friday with a push to insert secessionist wording during a convention-wide debate over the state party platform.
Previously, on Thursday night, the state GOP’s Platform Committee struck wording from the platform calling for a secession referendum. Many attendees at that meeting left in disgust, vowing to address the issue again over the course of the convention.
Texas Democrats pounced on the issue.
“Instead of focusing on fixing our schools, raising incomes for hard-working Texas families, or expanding opportunities for Texans, the party that controls the majority of our state government is focused on one of the most un-American, unpatriotic things I’ve ever seen,” said Crystal Kay Perkins, the Texas Democratic Party’s executive director, in a news release.
“The Republican Party is dead,” she added. “All that is left is a bunch of crackpots and traitors.”
There were other highlights in the platform. Texas Republicans called for federal and state term limits, the elimination of presidential executive orders and banning photo traffic enforcement cameras within the state limits.
The Texas GOP platform also included strong disapproval of gay lifestyles and no state restrictions on “access to sexual orientation change efforts for self-motivated youth and adults.”