Predictably, after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a historic bill protecting children from the fraud and psychological destruction of “ex-gay” therapy, the Liberty Counsel has announced that they will sue:
“The New Jersey governor is putting himself in every counseling room, dictating what kind of counseling clients can receive,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This bill provides a slippery slope of government infringing upon the First Amendment rights of counselors to provide, and patients to receive, counseling consistent with their religious beliefs.”
“This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky. Counselors would only be allowed to affirm these unwanted feelings as good and normal. This is absurd and dangerous. This law would inflict serious damage to children, parents, and counselors,” said Staver.
A3371 prohibits only one viewpoint regarding change counseling and, therefore, constitutes viewpoint discrimination. No viewpoint-based restriction on private speech has ever been upheld. The Supreme Court ruled that “the First Amendment forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others.”
Gov. Christie has reportedly said that he is siding with the “experts,” referring to the American Psychological Association’s 2009 Task Force Report cited by the legislature in support of the law. But that Task Force Report specifically states that there is evidence of benefit of such counseling, and any such reports to the contrary were only anecdotal. The Report also states that there is no research – none – regarding the effects of change therapy involving minors. “How can you ban counseling to minors where there is no evidence of harm to minors. Indeed, there is no research on minors at all. This law is politically, not scientifically, motivated,” said Staver.
The fact that they’re still using the same Jerry Sandusky line is amazing, considering how badly that cynical tactic backfired on them during the hearings. As Wayne explained in his column this week:
Of course, this issue was probably lost back in May when New Jersey Family First’s mercurial “ex-gay” activist, Greg Quinlan, tried to foolishly reframe this bill as the “Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act,” even though it had no connection to sexually abused children. This crass publicity stunt cemented the impression that our foes were not the kind of people who should be counseling vulnerable youth.
“I tried to have sex with the little girls that my mother watched in her daycare, and eventually, one of the girls told her parents what I was doing,” Doyle once wrote on an anti-gay website. “The shame that was placed on me by my parents was more than I could bear. Rather than rescue me, teach me, and put me in counseling, the ‘bad boy’ was left alone to deal with all of this shame.”
This amateur hour incompetence was a precursor to a hearing on the issue, where Quinlan became unhinged and lectured a key lawmaker by proclaiming: “We are raping parents of their children, not giving them the right to guide their child.”
Moreover, the suggestion that, because there hasn’t been enough research done on minors to merit a ban, when there is myriad evidence, in general, of the harms of “ex-gay” therapy, we should go ahead and try it on out on kids is particularly sick, as minors are, at the base line, more vulnerable to this sort of pseudo-scientific quackery than adults, as they often are led into this sort of “counseling” by misguided parents and religious leaders.
Indeed, Christie’s signing statement makes it very clear:
“I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”
There is no evidence of benefits experienced by minors thrown into this world of exorcism, stripping and self-loathing, and therefore Governor Christie, an actual adult, signed the bill.
Liberty Counsel, of course, does not have a particularly good reputation when it comes to protecting children, having represented Lisa Miller, the so-called “ex-lesbian” who had a child, Isabella, with her former partner, and upon religious conversion, decided that it would be better to kidnap Isabella and take her to Central America, rather than resolve the custody dispute like any other American adult in a similar situation.
Liberty Counsel isn’t concerned with protecting kids; they’re concerned with protecting their own supremacist ideology.