CP Opinions

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Sexual Orientation Therapy Ban: Where Is Tolerance?

March 19, 2013|6:52 am

Where is tolerance? Where is diversity? Where is equality? If you live in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, or Massachusetts and have a child who experiences unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA), soon you may not find tolerance, diversity, or equality there. That's because activists in these states are carefully working with sympathetic members of their state legislatures to take away your parental rights and your child's ability to receive treatment for unwanted homosexual feelings.

That's right, even if your child was sexually abused by a pedophile such as Jerry Sandusky and develops homosexual inclinations as a consequence, he/she may not be able to receive Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy from a highly educated and skilled professional counselor, social worker, or psychologist. Why, you ask? According to the office of Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciortino (D), because SOCE is an "archaic vestige of homophobia" and should be banned.

Sciortino, who authored the bill titled: " An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity in Minors" in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, is one of five states across the country proposing such legislation, all of which contain very similar language. The Massachusetts bill is "careful to not interfere with therapy efforts which seek to provide help and support for sexual orientation or gender identity acceptance."

In case you have a hard time understanding that language, it's politician-speak for: counselors are only allowed to affirm a client's homosexual orientation-that is, if a minor comes into a therapist's office and is confused about her or his sexual orientation, the therapist is obligated to help him or her accept their homosexuality. Period. There is no mention of the possibility of changing from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation. This is forbidden, even if the client and/or his family's values conflict with homosexual practice.

The counselor is also allowed to affirm a transgendered minor who seeks to change their biological sex or live as the opposite gender. But to help a young person who is distressed by unwanted homosexual feelings live according to his or her family values, religious beliefs, or cultural heritage, that would be diagnosed as "internalized homophobia" and harmful! Additionally, the client is told that "SOCE is ineffective and dangerous for adolescents, so don't even try to change, because it won't work."

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's examine the evidence behind this proposed legislation. Allow me to cite peer-reviewed scientific research that shows SOCE therapies are harmful and ineffective for adolescents. Oh, you couldn't find any studies either?

Apparently neither could Washington State Representative Marko Liias (D), who recently authored a bill with the other four openly-gay Washington state representatives that proposes to set up a "panel to determine whether so-called 'gay conversion therapy' works, whether it is harmful, and whether its use with minors should be regulated." Well at least that legislation calls for one advocate of SOCE to be a part of a 15-member panel, which will undoubtedly vote 14-1 to ban SOCE should it be given a chance. Fortunately, this bill is yet to get out of committee and receive a full vote in the legislature, but parents in Washington State must act quickly to insure their children have the right to seek counseling should they desire help.

When I asked Rep. Sciortino's office if he was at all concerned that the State of Massachusetts might be sued for millions of dollars by disenfranchised clients who are seeking to change their sexual orientation and practitioners who want to help them, and that his bill is proposing an unconstitutional ban on a therapeutic practice for adolescents that has not even been researched, his office was surprisingly silent!

The truth is, the blueprint for such legislation was pushed through a partisan legislature in 2012 in the state of California, and then duly signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Almost immediately, there was a federal injunction placed on the law until the courts could decide if it is constitutional. We await the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in late April, when oral arguments will be heard.

The original bill in California proposed to outlaw all SOCE, not just for minors, but for adults as well. The activists were cautioned that such an aggressive move might not have enough support, and suggested they start with banning this therapy just for minors. Once it is banned for minors across the country, their plan is to outlaw SOCE all together! That means no therapist would be allowed to assist any client who experiences unwanted homosexual feelings for any reason! No one. Where is the tolerance? Where is the diversity? Where is the equality?

The problem with this conspiracy is this: There is NOT ONE scientific study that contains any hard data on the outcomes of SOCE for adolescents. Not one!

So when I contacted the offices proposing a ban on SOCE therapies and asked them to cite studies that show "harmful" outcomes for adolescents, they could only point me to position statements from liberal trade organizations, which are known for their one-hand clapping viewpoint, strictly pro-gay and anti-ex-gay. If these organizations were made up of objective scientists that looked at all the evidence, such legislation would not be allowed anywhere.

We must defend the right of self-determination for all Americans-life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

For more information, visit www.ComingOutLoved.com

Christopher Doyle, M.A. is a Psychotherapist and the Director of the International Healing Foundation, a non-profit organization that has helped thousands of SSA and LGBT individuals, and their families, since 1990.
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