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Texas GOP Delegates Debate Reparative Therapy

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Inside the Fort Worth Convention Center, it's easy to hear the sounds of politics.

Texas Republicans voices all trying to be heard.

Delegate Colter Keathley, 18, has his message.

"My brother is gay, and I believe that gay people should have the same rights and privileges as any other heterosexual individuals," says Keathley, who drove in from South Texas.

Keathley has a problem with his party adopting a platform that endorses what's known as reparative therapy which claims to be able to "heal" homosexuality.

Keathley says it didn't work for his brother.

"He actually went to some of those "pray away the gay" type conferences, and it wasn't a good experience for him," says Keathley.

While some states have banned this type of therapy, a group of Texas Republicans voted Thursday night to make the therapy their platform.

Gay conservative Rudy Oeftering Vice President of Metroplex Republican says the therapy is nothing more than religious counseling and that didn't work for him either.

"I have four grown children. Talk about someone who tried not to be gay. I'm the poster child for that," says Oeftering. "For the Republican party to be endorsing one therapy over another is wrong and to tell gay people that they are ill and in need of treatment is simply wrong."

Supporters of the therapy believe it helps.

Dr. Robert Jeffress with First Baptist Dallas is one.

"I have talked to people who have undergone therapy like this and they have said as Christians it has helped them manage their temptations," says Dr. Jeffress. "No therapy can remove those desires that we all have in different area's of life, but as a Christian we have the power to overcome those desires and I think that's the true reparative therapy that only comes to those who know Jesus Christ his savor."

Critics like Keathley say they're ready to shout if their voices get drowned out in the debate.

"I'll keep fighting to reform the party," says Keathley.

Delegates are expected to take a final vote on the platform Saturday.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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