The Texas Republican Party accidentally declared the majority of Texans were gay, due to a grammatical error. As NPR pointed out, everyone needs a copy editor. By using the wrong verb, the Texas Republican Party declared in their 2016 party platform that “homosexuality… was shared by the majority of Texans.”
When your high school English teacher told you that subject-verb agreement was important, she wasn’t kidding.
“Homosexuality- Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples. We oppose the granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. (emphasis added)”
In this sentence, because the verb “has” is singular, it refers to “chosen behavior,” not “unchanging truths,” as the authors of the platform probably intended. As written, the first sentence of Section 84 of the Texas Republican Party platform states that homosexuality is ordained by God, that homosexuality was recognized by our nation’s founders, and that homosexuality is shared by the majority of Texans. With a population of over 27 million people, it’s likely that some Texans are homosexual. Statistically, it’s unlikely the majority of the state is.
For the statement to deplore and denigrate homosexuality, it should have said “Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.” There also should have been an apostrophe in the word “nations.”
The Guardian pointed out the grammatical errors in the platform, from comma confusion to a misused verb to the absent apostrophe.
Despite Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing gay marriage throughout all 50 states of the United States of America, the 84th plank of the Texas Republican Party platform states family should not “be redefined to include homosexual couples.”
The grammatical error has gone viral. Some people are laughing at the Texas Republican Party for saying the opposite of what they intended. Some are criticizing the Texas education system. Others are objecting to the Texas Republican Party’s attitude toward LGBT citizens.
Musician Ian Egan of Austin, TX, asked, “See what happens when you’re more concerned about making Moses one of the Founding Fathers and ignoring grammar classes?”
The Rev. Mr. Jim Rigby, also of Austin, wasn’t laughing. He complained about “empowered illiteracy.”
“As someone who lives in Texas, empowered illiteracy is no laughing matter. The distain [sic] many of our Texas leaders hold for education and science, as well as their inability to put a sentence together cannot bode well for our state’s future. The idea that homosexuality is abnormal, climate science is false and abortion immoral because someone can find a verse in the bible is a harbinger of destruction for education and democracy in our state. When insults, untested conspiracy theories, smirking ignorance and theocratic bravado replace reason, we all suffer.”
Several people on Facebook and Twitter also brought up the separation of church and state, something the Texas Republican Party seems to be ignoring. Debbie Heath Koonce of Taft, TX, stated, “Grammar is important. But what is more important is the 2016 Republican Party platform of hate and exclusion, and shredding the separation of church and state!”
Live Science stated that most scientists do not believe that homosexuality is a choice, contrary to the Texas Republican Party’s opinion. As to the “fundamental unchanging truths” ordained in the Bible, not all Americans are Christians, and not all Christians believe the Bible is inerrant. Obergefell vs. Hodges recognized the rights of LGBT citizens to wed, although in many states, including Texas, it is still legal to discriminate against LGBT people in housing and jobs.
The Texas Republican Party opposes “the granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior.” Apparently, they also oppose proofreading.
[Photo by Eric Gay/AP Images]