In an effort to conceal potentially-incriminating documents, a Maryland lawmaker and Democratic candidate for Attorney General has refused to release public records after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was submitted by the International Healing Foundation (IHF), a non-profit therapeutic organization located in Bowie, MD, who in late March accused the official of defamation and discriminatory conduct while the House of Delegates was considering legislation to ban Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy for minors. Shockingly, the lawmaker cited a pedophile murder case from 1980 as justification.
Delegate Jon Cardin, who is currently 24 points ahead in the Democratic primary for Maryland Attorney General, according to an April 30 poll of likely voters, wrote an open letter on March 27 in response to IHF’s allegations stating: “I welcome any investigations you or your lawyers wish to pursue.” The letter from Cardin to IHF, refusing to hand over the public documents, can be found here. However, after IHF submitted a FOIA request that would reveal potentially illegal or improper conduct, the Attorney General candidate refused to release them, citing Maryland “legislative privilege,” a state statute that relies on a 34-year-old pedophile murder case.
In 1980, the Maryland Attorney General refused to hand over documents in Hamilton vs. Verdow, a gruesome case where a pedophile molested and murdered two young boys. At the time, the state asserted that the documents were privileged by law. The court agreed with Maryland and went so far as to cite the United States vs. Nixon case in favor of privilege. The doctrine is also referred to as a “privilege for governmental secrets.”
“It is ironic for Delegate Cardin to cite a pedophile murder case in order to justify the withholding of documents that could, in fact, help young people in Maryland heal from the trauma of child molestation,” commented Christopher Doyle, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Director of IHF. “In nearly twenty-five years, our clinic has witnessed that approximately half of our clients who seek therapy for unwanted homosexual feelings have a history of childhood sexual abuse that may have contributed to their unwanted same-sex attraction.”
Research published in the scientific peer-reviewed literature demonstrates a link between childhood homosexual molestation and later development of same-sex attraction for some individuals. For example, a 2001 study in the prestigious Archives of Sexual Behavior found that among 942 participants, forty-six percent of the homosexual men in contrast to 7% of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation, while twenty-two percent of lesbian women in contrast to 1% of heterosexual women reported homosexual molestation.
In defense, Cardin claims that the documents are privileged because “records made or kept in the contemplation of, strategy of, or act of introducing legislation before the Maryland General Assembly” are by law, privileged. But questions remain as to the legality of Cardin’s actions, who introduced, then withdrew HB 91, a bill that sought to take away the rights of minor clients to seek counseling for unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA).
During the legislative session, Cardin referenced IHF on at least two occasions, once where he was quoted in a Washington Blade article as saying:
There are numerous gay conversion therapy providers as well as organizations like the infamous International Healing Foundation located right here in Maryland advocating for what I consider very harmful conversion therapies . . . to me, it is incredibly repulsive.
But Cardin never provided any evidence of these “harmful” conversion therapies, nor did he produce any minors who have supposedly been harmed by SOCE therapy in Maryland. Instead, it appears that Cardin might be working hand-in-hand with gay activist groups such as Equality Maryland, and possibly, the Southern Poverty Law Center, who has been waging a hate campaign against ex-gays and has been one of the chief promoters of SOCE ban legislation, which was signed into law in California and New Jersey in 2012-2013, but failed to garner enough support in at least five states this year. In fact, a Washington Times story from May 5 reported that “similar measures have floundered in as many as nine other state legislatures” in 2014.
But for IHF and Director Christopher Doyle, these recent victories are not enough. They are demanding forthrightness from the Attorney General candidate. “In the effort to encourage full disclosure and accountability of state public officials, Cardin should release the documents requested to promote the public interest and safety of children in Maryland. There should be no governmental secrets about our children,” commented Doyle.
The most important question that remains to be answered is, just exactly what is Maryland Attorney General candidate Jon Cardin hiding?
Report via IHF press release.
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