How The Wrong Verb Meant The Texas GOP Called Most Texans Gay

May 19, 2016

Everyone needs a copy editor. (Thank you, Susan and Amy and Pam.)

Today, the Texas Republican Party is probably wishing it had one, too.

Check out this sentence from the just-adopted 2016 party platform:

As Texas Monthly rightly points out, the sentence actually says that homosexual behavior “has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nations founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.”

That’s probably not what Texas Republicans meant.

The august magazine blames that Oxford comma there at the end for the confusion, but we asked our aforementioned (and heroic) copy editors where the real problem was and they zeroed in on the verb “has.” It’s singular, so the rest of the sentence ends up referring to the noun “behavior” instead of “truths.”

Susan Vavrick, NPR’s copy chief, took out her pen and suggested three quick corrections:

The Texas GOP did not immediately return our request for comment. We’ll update if it does, but it turns out that the 2014 version of its platform has the verbs all correct.

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