Presidential senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner is pushing to remove any reference to gay conversion therapy from the upcoming GOP party platform. Axios is reporting that Kushner wants to remove “culture war” items and reduce the bloated platform to a short list of “principles we believe in” that can fit on a single pocket-sized card.
“This is a concept that has been driven by the campaign,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s director of communication, said. “A more concise platform is just one of many options being discussed, and it is in fact not a new idea."
While the 2016 GOP party platform did not officially mention gay conversion therapy, it did “support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children.” Critics claim this ambiguous language gives tacit approval to a practice that is condemned as dangerous and ineffective by both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Kushner is reportedly advocating for it, and other language that might alienate voters, to be removed.
Conversion therapy is a widely debunked set of practices aimed at changing a "patient's" sexuality or gender identity. In reality, these methods, which range from electroshock therapy and water torture to "praying the gay away," are a form of abuse both physical and mental, sometimes leading to severe depression or death by suicide. The methods have been described as ineffective, harmful and deadly by every leading medical association in the United States, as well as other global health organizations.
A study by The Trevor Project found that 57% of gay conversion therapy survivors had considered taking their own lives during the previous year. Many of these survivors have spoken out about the barbaric nature of the programs and the emotional, psychological, and physical scars that remain from the experience. Trevor Project and the Born Perfect campaign are currently working to outlaw the practice in a state-by-state process.
Regardless of the outcome of Kushner’s alleged efforts, party officials indicate the platform will not veer far from traditional conservative positions and principles.
“Ultimately, the platform committee of the convention will make the decision, but as is the case with all national conventions, the President’s campaign will play a major role,” Murtaugh assured. “In any event, we expect the 2020 platform to be the most conservative in history and one which will reflect the President’s conservative imprint on the Republican Party.”