The Washington Times covered the issue of banning conversion therapy for minors today. Here is an excerpt:
The push to ban sexual-orientation “change” therapy for children is growing as lawmakers in at least eight states have introduced bills to outlaw the practice and gay-rights advocates expect at least a few to become law this year. In Maryland, Delegate Jon S. Cardin, a Democrat who is running for state attorney general, has filed legislation that would ban such therapy. He said leading medical and psychological organizations have declared that “being gay is not a disease or a choice.” Lawmakers in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia also have introduced bills to ban sexual-orientation change efforts for minors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association oppose this form of therapy.
“These dangerous treatments that attempt to address depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior may only serve to reinforce self-hatred,” said a summary of a New York bill introduced last year by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman filed a companion bill.
The bans on sexual-orientation change efforts are likely to “follow the path of marriage equality,” with Maryland and Massachusetts the most likely states to approve bills this year, said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, an advocacy group that “fights the ‘ex-gay’ myth.”
Truth Wins Out has created a website, LGBTScience.org, to build the case against sexual-orientation change therapy, which it calls “junk science.”
But some proposed bans are meeting resistance. Virginia lawmakers swiftly killed such legislation in committee this month, and leaders of organizations that address “sexual brokenness” say sexual-orientation change efforts are essential to helping those who want to escape unwanted same-sex attractions and experiences.
“I know a number of men who felt suicidal because they thought they were stuck with homosexuality and had no hope until they found out about the therapy and ministry opportunities available,” said Anne Paulk, executive director of Restored Hope Network, an organization with nearly 40 ministries that address sexual and gender issues.
“Each person should have the right to choose the direction of their life and not be prohibited from living congruently with their faith and/or ethics,” she said.
“For children who struggle with same-sex attractions, like I did when I was 18, it’s important for them to know that there’s more than one option, other than, ‘Hey, just accept that you’re gay and find a good gay group and ride happily into the sunset,’” said DL Foster, pastor of Overcomers Network, a Bible-based ministry that helps people live and act in sexually moral ways.
“For those who don’t want to follow a path of being self-identified as gay, they need to have clear and credible options,” Mr. Foster said.
Paulk and Foster are delusional, as usual. What evidence does Foster possess that makes “ex-gay” therapy a credible option? All he usually offers are tall tales of change, if you are willing to give him your dollars. His greatest example of so-called success is himself, and he is still is a notably effeminate man who deepens his voice and checks his flowery hand gestures when the cameras are rolling. This makes DL Foster appear more like an phony or an actor playing a role, rather than an individual who has gone through a genuine transformation. As for Anne Paulk, she is going through a divorce because her “ex-gay” husband, John Paulk, has come out of the closet and apologized for his past. Good for John and bad for Anne, who continues to peddle misinformation and refuses to look in the mirror of reality to see the negative impact the “ex-gay” myth has had on her own shattering life.
These laws will eventually pass in all 50 states because they are the right thing to do and they will save lives. Indeed, the chances are that many of those vociferously fighting such laws will come out of the closet or be scandalized before these laws are passed throughout the country. The “ex-gay” myth is a big lie that never ends well for those involved — whether they are the clients who are being ripped off, or the con artists who have deluded themselves and gone back into the closet to mask deeper mental health issues. Conversion therapy is not an option, as Foster blithely says, as he ignores the pain such psychological voodoo has caused. Instead it is an obstacle to sound mental health and stability. Mr. Foster is exhibit A — and his immaturity and sundry issues are why his hobby is drawing Hitler mustaches on his opponents.
Conversion therapists are quacks who have created covert religious rituals that ape legitimate medical practices to avoid detection. Such therapy isn’t really therapy at all, but the hijacking of medical language and style to demonize LGBT people as mentally ill and in need of help. No one should be fooled by this form of bigotry and consumer fraud. We should do everything in our power to protect innocent children from these charlatans who are more likely to cause suicides than present solutions.