How the wrong verb meant the Texas GOP called most Texans gay

Man waves rainbow flag
A man waves a rainbow flag in Austin, Texas, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples have the right to marry.
Eric Gay | AP

By Eyder Peralta, NPR

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

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

MPR News is Member Supported

What does that mean? The news, analysis and community conversation found here is funded by donations from individuals. Make a gift of any amount today to support this resource for everyone.

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

2016 Texas GOP platform excerpt
An excerpt from the 2016 Texas Republican Party platform.
Texas GOP

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:

Corrected version of Texas GOP platform
A corrected version of a part of the Texas Republican Party platform.

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.