Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) dodged the question last week of whether he agrees with his party's support for "reparative therapy," a process purported to change the sexual orientation of gay people. But campaign records show the gubernatorial candidate has been flying around on a private plane donated by two billionaires who help fund the "ex-gay" movement.
Texas fracking tycoons Dan and Farris Wilks have given Abbott a combined total of more than $30,000 worth of in-kind donations this year for the use of a private plane. The Wilks' charitable trust, The Thirteen Foundation, has contributed nearly $3 million to groups that promote gay conversion therapy, a discredited pseudo-medical practice meant to change people's sexual orientation from gay to straight. The foundation also donates millions to anti-abortion and conservative religious groups.
Abbott's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The Texas Republican Party endorsed reparative therapy in its platform this year and asserted that homosexuality is not "an acceptable alternative lifestyle."
“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 shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy."
As attorney general, Abbott has defended Texas' ban on same-sex marriages, but last week he avoided the question of whether he agrees with that new plank in the GOP platform.
“First is jobs, second is schools, three is roads, transportation and water, and four is making sure our border is secure,” Abbott told KYTX.
“It sounds like reparative therapy is pretty far down on that list,” Sutton said.
“Well, if government does what it’s supposed to do, and then gets out of people’s way, everyone is a whole lot happier,” Abbott responded.
Abbott's billionaire donors have sent millions of dollars to groups including the Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, which advocate for gay conversion therapy and have fought in court to protect the legality of giving the treatment to minors.
Abbott's Democratic opponent, former State Sen. Wendy Davis, told Texas-based LGBT website Lone Star Q that she would back a law banning reparative therapy for minors.