By David C. Pruden, MS – BarbWire guest contributor
In late 2012 and early 2013, before most people even noticed and opponents had time to organize, elected officials in California and New Jersey passed alarming legislation that will deny families with children who may be experiencing homosexual attractions the right to seek assistance from a licensed mental health professional if that therapist attempts to suggest that the adolescent might not be “gay” or that with counseling the adolescent might be able to diminish their unwanted homosexual attractions. During the twelve months since Governor Chris Christie signed the therapy ban legislation for New Jersey sixteen other states have considered similar “copycat” legislation but in each state the rational arguments made by family organizations, local ex-gays, and responsible mental health professionals has led to the defeat of these bills.
The reason to reject this attempt to limit the freedom of families to choose the kind of counselor and counseling process for their children that they feel best supports their own family goals and values is pretty simple. First, we know that sexual behaviors and attractions for some people can change substantially over a lifetime and those individuals who have experienced physical or psychological abuse often experience high levels of confusion. Denying them the assistance they may need to support their authentic sexual identity in the name of political correctness is too high a price to pay. Second, there is no substantial evidence that licensed, professional therapists who work with individuals with unwanted same-sex ambiguity or attractions have caused their clients any harm. Every state already has in place a licensing board charged with the responsibility of granting or denying licenses to mental health professionals. If there were a problem counselor the ability of the state to remove them from practice already exists in the law. A review of ethical complaints filed in the various states over the past decade against therapists who harmed their clients while counseling with them about their homosexual attractions fails to show that any problem actually exists.
This legislation results in the loss of freedom for thousands of families and innocent individuals without providing any kind of new protection for anyone. It is the quintessential example of an invented problem being used to rob citizens of their freedom in order to flex the political muscle of radical activists. In sixteen states a sufficient number of legislators became educated enough about these concerns that these anti-therapy bills were bottled up in committee or actually defeated by a vote of the legislature.
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Now with the encouragement of ex-gays themselves and therapists who provide assistance to clients experiencing unwanted homosexual attractions Texas Republicans meeting in their annual convention last weekend where their current party platform was passed have adopted language that specifically supports the right of Texas families to seek therapy for unwanted same-sex attractions. The platform plank reads:
“…we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle, No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”
Thank goodness for Texas! It seems that average, sensible Americans are beginning to fight back against this kind of oppressive attempt to promote a political perspective by regulating the right of families to protect their children or even consider their options when someone in their home may be experiencing confusing or discontented sexual feelings. In a country where we are told on a daily basis that we need to defend and even promote alternative lifestyles it is ironic indeed that individuals of faith or families who espouse more traditional values can find no support from the mainstream media or many of our elected officials for their diversity, for their freedom, or for their individual liberties.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.