Fringe Factor

Fringe Factor: Texas GOP Backs Ex-Gay Therapy

Lone Star state Republicans are getting on the discredited therapy bandwagon, a Montana judge who called a 14-year-old rape victim ‘in control,’ is ordered suspended, and more.

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Texas GOP Backs Ex-Gay Therapy

Ex-gay therapy may now be part of the Texas GOP’s party platform. A Houston Chronicle reporter got his hands on a draft of the platform, which, among other anti-gay policies, includes a statement of support for the availability of highly discredited ex-gay therapy. “We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” the platform states. “No laws or executive orders should be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”

Suspension Ordered for Judge Who Called Rape Victim in Control

Last year, Montana Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced a former teacher to 31 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old student. Baugh’s justification for the unjustifiably short sentence, which was later overturned, was, he explained, that the victim was a “youth that was probably as much in control of the situation as [the teacher], one that was seemingly, though troubled, older than her chronological age.” Later, Baugh told the press, “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.” Only after the victim killed herself—a result, her parents said, of emotional distress—and more than 30,000 people petitioned for his resignation did Baugh apologize. And just this week, Montana’s high court ordered the judge reprimanded and suspended for violating judicial ethics. “There’s no place in the Montana judiciary for perpetuating the stereotype that women and girls are responsible for sexual crimes committed against them,” the Montana Supreme Court determined.

Ohio State Rep: IUDs Are Like Abortions

Ohio state Rep. John Becker isn’t “a medical doctor.” But in his “personal view,” intrauterine devices, better known as IUDs, are essentially like abortions. That’s because, he says, they prevent fertilized eggs from being implanted and therefore should be included in the Ohio House’s proposed ban on insurance-covered abortions. At the first hearing on House Bill 351 this week, which would make insurance coverage for abortions—even in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the mother’s health—illegal, the inclusion of IUDs predictably sparked debate. Rep. John Carney challenged Becker’s assertion that IUDs cause abortions and called the bill “very disrespectful to the women of our state.”

Pennsylvania Lawmaker: Unions Are Like Dictators

At a debate over whether union dues should be deducted automatically from government employees’ paychecks, Pennsylvania state Sen. Scott Wagner compared unions to Adolf Hitler or Vladimir Putin. (Obviously, he is in favor of preventing such automatic deductions.) “The unions are about power and control,” Wagner said. “And there are two things that I continue to remember about power and control. There was a gentleman by the name of Hitler, he was about power and control. There’s a gentleman by the name of Putin, who’s across the ocean, that’s about power and control.” After the debate, however, Wagner told the Associated Press that he wasn’t actually comparing unions to Putin and Hitler—he was just “talking about the concept of power and control. I didn’t say the unions are out killing people,” he said.