Mat Staver and these charlatans are only looking for attention. I can’t fathom that they want to take on the merits of conversion/reparative therapy — long discredited — to “pray away the gay” to court. But as LGBT rights advance, groups like Liberty Counsel have fewer opportunities to put on their dog and pony show to raise cash.
Senate Bill 1172 was passed by the California legislature last week and it goes to the Governor’s desk. Jerry Brown is expected to sign it into law. Background on the landmark legislation’s passage.
California is poised to become the first state in the country to ban “conversion” or “reparative” therapy for minor – treatments that claim to stop a young person from being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender or to reverse such tendencies.
Proponents of the law say top mental-health organizations agree that such practices are not only misguided but also dangerous, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and even suicide. Opponents say there is more than 100 years of professional and scientific literature on the subject of sexual-orientation change, offering a strong case that, for at least some people, sexual orientation can be modified.
“These dangerous, unscientific practices have caused too many young people to take their own lives or suffer lifelong harm after being told, falsely, that who they are – and who they love – is wrong, sick, or the result of personal or moral failure,” said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.
She says some of the techniques used by these practitioners include the use of shame, verbal abuse, pornography, and even aversion training. The American Psychological Association, she notes, reviewed published reports about such treatments and issued a report concluding there is no evidence that such practices work, and that they’re based on the “false belief that being gay is an illness or a disorder.”
And Liberty Counsel unleashed its threat in reaction.
“If the bill is signed into law, Liberty Counsel will sue on behalf of counselors, parents, and minors who provide, refer, or who receive and have found change therapy to be beneficial,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The bill defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as any practice that is designed to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction. Such broad language will prohibit any counseling that does not affirm and encourage experimentation with or acceptance of same-sex attractions, regardless of whether those feelings and attractions are unwanted by the counselee. The bill not only prohibits this type of treatment, but it makes it an ethical violation for any counselor or therapist to engage in it.?
“If the governor signs this law, mental health professionals will find themselves in a catch-22,” Staver said. Therapists have an ethical obligation to help clients deal with conflict. If a counselee is experiencing conflict between religious beliefs and same-sex attractions and wants to prioritize these beliefs over such attractions, the counselor is ethically obligated to directly help the client or refer for help. Under this bill, the counselor will be forced to disregard the client’s religious beliefs or change them. This bill will harm minors, undermine parental rights, and interfere with the rights of counselors. This bill and the ethical codes of all of the licensing boards in California are on an inevitable collision course,” said Staver. “The licenses of countless mental health professionals hang in the balance.”?
“The implications of the government determining what counseling treatments are acceptable should concern every counselor and citizen,” said Staver. “That decision should be left to the patient, the parents, and the doctors. The government has no place in that conversation,” Staver concluded.
The ex-gay movement is crying foul as well. Take Joseph Nicolosi of National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH):
“We don’t believe there is such a thing as a gay teen, because no teen is mature enough to define himself as gay. We’re not out to change them so much as investigate,” says Mr. Nicolosi. “The danger of this law is that it tries to kill simple attempts at understanding by saying gayness is static and ‘How dare you try to change someone’s personhood?’ ”
Bullsh*ttery like this is simply dangerous. Being gay is not a disease. Let this go to court; Staver and Company will not only fail miserably, it will air out yet again why other states can pass and enact laws to protect LGBTQ youth.