We all knew that when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the bill banning “ex-gay” therapy for minors in New Jersey, the Right would lose it. We could spend a bunch of time reporting on what Bryan Fischer and Matt Barber said, but as usual, it’s simply cut-and-paste outrage from their fever dreams, and it’s of little import.
Instead, let’s focus on the self-loathing homo-cons who, for surely principled reasons, are upset about this. Yes, let us travel together to the swamps of the Gay Patriot blog, where two of their newbies are engaging in what we are quite sure they believe is a high-minded intellectual discourse about how reparative therapy for kids isn’t that bad after all. Remember — these are out of the closet gay men writing.
It began yesterday, when “Kurt” set up his “problems” with banning discredited and harmful therapy for children by explaining how he’s not so hot on that whole “equal rights” thing in the first place:
I, for one, feel that the courts are the wrong place for the argument over so-called “marriage equality” to proceed and that it is better taken up through the legislative process. Likewise, I don’t feel that one needs to call it marriage if doing so antagonizes a significant portion of the populace who feel that marriage has a traditional meaning which they would rather not modify.
It’s helpful to remember that gay wingnuts tend to, deep down, believe in the cultural supremacy of white social conservatives, and believe that they must let them have what they want. Heaven forbid the poor dears be “antagonized” by something they don’t like!
I’ve said before and I’ll say again that what we’re really talking about when we talk about same-sex marriage is a matter of 1). how the state recognizes a contractual relationship between two individuals, and 2). whether or not it has any business granting special privileges to those in a “traditional marriage” which it does not grant to others. I’d argue that a debate that focused on the desirability of certain policy choices would be much more productive and much more worthwhile than one centered on emotional claims about “rights” and “equality.”
Or, you know, Constitutional guarantees, which are founded on things like “rights” and “equality.” To believe that, though, one must first believe that LGBT people deserve to be treated equally.
My aim today, though, is not to revisit that debate
That’s not why he’s here today.
but to bring up some of the questions raised by the fact that today New Jersey became the second state (after California) to ban “conversion therapy” for gay youths. My personal view on the issue is that “conversion therapy” doesn’t work in most cases and, to the extent that it is practiced, it should really only be viewed as an option for adults who choose to willingly commit to it. In other words, New Jersey’s ban is in accord with my personal view on the matter, and yet, for philosophical reasons, I’m still bothered by some aspects of the legislation.
It’s right but, but, but! A wingnut he really likes has problems with it, so he has problems with it too. He links to somebody called “Neo-Neocon,” who has things about which to complain, regarding preventing children from being driven to depression and suicide. The plight of the modern wingnut, in D-flat minor with a string section that is very concerned about the loss of Freedom! and Liberty!:
It is no use pretending that therapy—and the licensing of therapists by the state—is not at least partly a political endeavor subject to political fashion rather than a science.
Those most thoughtful among us do of course prefer that they stick with the science.
Nor should therapists be completely unrestricted. For example, therapists are already prohibited from sexual contact with patients—even willing patients, even adult patients—because it is considered inherently exploitative.
Glad Neo-Neocon is on the same page as we are on that one.
But the most harmful practices that could be used by conversion therapists (for example, electric shock) could be banned without banning the entire enterprise.
Wow. Neo-Neocon certainly has not done her homework on this, has she? Or maybe most of her exposure to these therapies comes from mental health journals from the 1950’s. In any event, the writer, who refers to herself as a former lifelong New England Democrat, certainly has learned to troll an argument since becoming a Neocon. Of course, in New Jersey, one of the most prominent organizations involved has a history of doing weird, sexual things with its clients, so it’s almost as if she reinforced our point unwittingly.
But apparently none of that would be enough for the advocates of this bill; the therapy itself must be defined by the government as inherently and unfailingly abusive (what’s next, taking children away from parents who don’t applaud and celebrate their gayness?) As the nanny state grows, so will these essentially political moves by the government. This bill opens the door for a host of governmental abuses in which the state dictates the enforcement of politically correct thought through the mechanism of so-called therapy, and therapists become the instruments by which the public is indoctrinated in what is currently politically acceptable and what is verboten.
The advocates for this bill included esteemed members of the mental health profession and actual victims of the treatment, and they proved that reparative therapy is abusive before both houses of the New Jersey Legislature. Just as parents can be held criminally responsible for failing to provide healthcare for their children when they’re sick, even if their religious beliefs tell them that healthcare is the root of all evil, the state of New Jersey has now stepped in to ensure that innocent children will not be damaged by this sort of therapy at the behest of the ignorance and bigotry of parents and religious leaders.
Sometimes, science wins, and this is one of those times.
We now return to “Kurt” at GayPatriot, who is trying to have an original thought, but coming up dry:
At the risk of invoking the “slippery-slope” argument, I can’t see a way around the concerns that Neo-neocon expresses.
Astounding, because I’m kind of phoning this post in, due to a deadline on another project, and I managed to dismantle her concerns in a couple of paragraphs.
I’d have preferred to let the market regulate itself without getting the state involved in this way.
If the market dictates that a buncha kids become suicidally depressed because their parents hold onto unscientific beliefs about how the gays are hellbound heathens, the market should get what it wants! FREEEEDOM!
(Except for the kids.)
Once the state has weighed in on this question, though, where can we expect it to weigh in next, and will it ever stop trying to regulate the way parents raise their children? I can’t see that it ever will.
Probably just in the ways I explained, where kids occasionally have to be protected from parents whose beliefs are so far outside the boundaries of reality that they’re unfit to make wise decisions for their children on these issues.
That was yesterday. For some reason, another GayPatriot newbie felt the need to weigh in on the issue today. Here is “Jeff (ILoveCapitalism)” (stop laughing, that’s really what he goes by), showin’ us what he did when he put his thinkin’ cap on today:
He used the tag “Big Government Follies,” so be prepared for some harrumph-ing and get-off-my-lawn-ing in short order.
I love it (don’t we all!) that Christie told his constituents the truth about New Jersey’s budget mess, which he inherited from Wall Street rip-off artist and Democrat, Jon Corzine. But some of Christie’s other positions suggest a Big Government, authoritarian streak in him. Perhaps this is one.
“HARRUMPH!” Of course, Christie didn’t ban it. He signed a bill that was debated in both houses in New Jersey’s legislature and passed shortly after. I know we’re against the big gubmint-ing and all, but that’s sort of how state goverment works.
Low as my opinion of reparative therapy is, some people (probably a small minority, when we’re talking about men) can change their orientation if they want to, and none of us have the moral right to stop them from getting assistance.
“GET OFF MY LAWN! And don’t you even start asking me to cite sources when I’m talking about things I don’t know the first thing about. Sources. Statistics. Science. HRMPH!”
Minors do need a higher standard of protection, but that’s why they have parents.
And sometimes people have shitty parents, which is why the state will often step in to protect the child’s best interests. This is nothing new.
At the very least, the “age of consent” for gay sex and reparative therapy ought to be the same. A teenager who is viewed legally as old enough to make his own decisions about sex, should be old enough to make his own decisions about what therapy he may want. The issue here is liberty: the individual’s freedom to do what she thinks is best for herself even when Chris Christie (or gay activists, or anyone else) does not think she’s on the right track.
That would make sense if we made all decisions regarding a child’s well being based on the age they are legally allowed to have gay sex, but there’s really not precedent for that, at least that I’m aware of. I mean, come on, JeffLovesCapitalism, this is a medical/mental health issue. Age of consent laws are there to protect kids from predatory adults who would take advantage of them. It is a well known fact that teens often have sex — against their parents’ wishes — before they’re at the age of consent, with other people their age. There is nothing in that fact that says that the state believes those kids are mentally or emotionally ready for such activity. Likewise, this law is there to protect minor kids who are still theoretically living by their parents’ decisions from having said parents inflict abuse upon them due to the parents’ own misguided beliefs.
Yet again, if you lay it all out, the wingnut accidentally proves our point.
And thus we conclude Homo-Con Theatre.