TOPEKA The Kansas Republican Party has approved a resolution that opposes "all efforts to validate transgender identity," including opposing any medical treatments to alter a person's body to conform with his or her perceived gender identity.
The resolution, approved Saturday by the party's state committee during its annual meeting in Wichita, said the GOP affirms "God's design for gender as determined by biological sex and not by self-perception," The Wichita Eagle reported. The resolution was approved on a voice vote by the committee, which includes about 180 people.
The resolution's sponsor, Eric Teetsel, president of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, noted the statement also recognizes the dignity of those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. He said he was motivated by love to sponsor the resolution because he believes the GOP needs to be willing to stand up for its Christian principles.
"Ultimately, an ideology that says you can determine your own gender identity is broken and it's going to lead to a lot of pain, and that's why it's important to bring us back to what we know to be true and good," Teetsel said.
Equality Kansas, which advocates for LGBT rights, said it was "incredibly disappointed" that Kansas Republicans had promoted "such an undignified and crass assault."
"This is a cheap election year attack by (former Kansas governor) Sam Brownback's son-in-law (Teetsel), and yet another attempt to dehumanize those who do not fit inside the narrow world view of Brownback, his family, and his wing of the Republican party," Equality Kansas director Tom Witt said in a statement.
The Kansas Republican Party platform doesn't address transgender rights but does say that "our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage," and opposes same-sex marriage.
"You go back to, what does the Republican Party stand for? What does our platform stand for? And I think that the committee felt that it aligned with our platform and so, they supported it," Kansas Republican Party chairman Kelly Arnold said.
Paige Hungate, student body president of Wichita State University, opposed the resolution, saying she feared it would keep people away from the party as it tries to become more welcoming.
"To me, it is not a pressing issue for us to state that we believe in only two genders. This hurts us more than it helps us; this makes us seem less willing to accept individuals into the party who may not identify with that stance," Hungate said.