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FORT WORTH -- The Texas Republican party has softened language in its platform on homosexuality.

"I didn't see any reason to use language that people might interpret as mean-spirited," said Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri.

A temporary platform committee on Wednesday night removed the phrase: "We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of our society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country's founders and shared by the majority..."

After gay conservatives were denied a booth in the exhibit hall for the convention, Rudy Oeftering called the change in the platform an "encouraging sign."

"Demographically, you just can't continue to have the same demographic you have today and win elections in the future. The Republican party has to change in Texas," Oeftering said.

The state's GOP still supports the Defense of Marriage Act and still opposes gays in the military. Though a temporary platform committee removed the language on homosexuality on Wednesday night, it could still be restored before the final platform is adopted on Saturday.

Delegates will vote on the final platform late Saturday morning before the convention ends.

Gov. Rick Perry headlined the opening day of the Texas Republican party convention at the convention center, revving up the crowd and appearing presidential.

He spoke for a half-hour and recounted successes of his 14 years in office, touting the economy and an improving graduation rate, among other things.

Perry also said he wouldn't give up the country's largest conservative state to Democrats without a fight.

"The national Democrats think Texas is the newest battleground," he said. "But let me be clear, it will be their political burial ground."

On Friday, gubernatorial nominee Greg Abbott will address the 9,000 or so in attendance at the GOP convention after U.S. Senators John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul take the stage.

Appearing at an event in San Antonio Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis slammed Abbott and the Republican lieutenant governor nominee, Dan Patrick.

"This week, the Abbott-Patrick ticket will appear on stage at the GOP convention to highlight their shared values of alienating women and Latinos and abandoning the state's public education system," Davis said.

The Texas Democratic party hosts its convention at the end of the month at the Omni Hotel in Dallas.

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