Christian Right Warns CA Conversion Ban Will Force Kids Toward Black Market Ex-Gays

California’s new ban on reparative therapy for minors is facing its first legal challenge, as supporters have asked a federal judge to block the measure.

On Friday, lawyers from Liberty Counsel came before U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller to argue that the law, scheduled to take effect on January 1, violates the First Amendment.

“The California governor and legislature put their own preconceived notions and political ideology ahead of children and their right to receive counseling that aligns with their spiritual values and emotional needs,” said Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. “A number of minors who have struggled with same-sex attraction have been able to reduce or eliminate the stress and conflicts in their lives by receiving counseling that best meets their needs and religious convictions.”

Representing two conversion therapists and a number of families, Staver argued that a ban would force young people to seek out nonprofessionals: “If [lawmakers] really think this kind of therapy causes harm, why would they want to push them toward unlicensed practitioners?”

Is he really making an abortion analogy—really?

The Attorney General’s office maintains legislators are simply protecting young people from unsound practices: “All our state has done is what is in its power and duty to do,” said Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Gordon. “Which is to ban a course of professional conduct that does not work, has been scientifically discredited and renounced by every mainstream mental health association.”

Judge Mueller is expected to issue a written ruling in the next few days. Meanwhile, another suit filed on behalf of reparative therapists is being brought to federal court for a hearing today. This could shape up to be a pretty crappy week.

Below Staver and Matt Barber  discuss how damaging the ban will be. We really love the part where Staver warns that children who have been molested will be told to “just go with it.”

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  • Dumdum

    This is all based on the concept that there is something wrong with being Gay. This same type of thinking is what forced me out of my home and school to live on the street and sell my body to survive. My parents sent me to a shrink because they thought I was not normal. Fortunately for me I knew in my heart that THEY were full of S**T I know most youngsters won’t be that strong and will be messed up for life. It is natural to have questions it is wrong to prey upon that. Those people are predators not therapists.

  • MikeE

    Since “reparative therapy” is already recognized as harmful and of no value by all major medical associations in the U.S., it ALREADY amounts to “black market” therapy.

    And let me tell you, “kids” won’t be “turning to” reparative therapy… their idiot bible-thumping parents are the ones who will try to force them into it.

  • curan

    I have heard of no reputable science on reparative therapy. It most likely is quack therapy on the same level as voodoo.

    There are people who genuinely wish that they were not gay (I am not one of them). For myself, I wish that such people had an easy way out, and could make themselves into something that they are not.

    No such treatment currently exists, and you will do yourself harm pretending that one does.

  • Aidan8

    Oh this is rich. The same people argue for overturning Roe v. Wade and conveniently ignore the “unlicensed” “black market” abortion providers and injuries/deaths that would result. As a lawyer, Liberty Counsel and their ilk make me sick.

  • Caliban

    If BOTH the licensed and unlicensed practitioners are quacks, what’s the difference?

  • andy_d

    @MikeE: I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Raquel Santiago


    I remember as a kid a psychiatrist told my parents in bible belt Michigan, I think your son is gay and needs therapy. I vehemently denied it knowing what this would do or they would try to do and hence avoided the so called reparative therapy. I have lost two good friends to this damn therapy that they ended up taking their own lives. This is not a disorder, it is not a disease its a way of life and until that is accepted this battle is going to be ongoing. I think the fight for this is only just starting.

  • Ken A.

    They are crying, let them cry. They are forcing their views on other people using miners as pawns for their sick twisted anti spiritual values. They are a catalyst for teen suicides and they’re bullies, pure and simple, bullies.

    They don’t cure anything, just a money ploy using God and Jesus and their pseudo Christian reasoning to market false promises. If anything, they should be sued for failure

  • jmmartin

    No one ever accused the reparative therapy crowd (think Marcus Bachmann) of using logic, but their latest claim is hair-brained and hilarious. The purveyors of false science being forced out of play, false false science people will perform their abortions in dark places at night with coat hangers.

  • bevmar

    One day, all boys had cooties, the next day, damn, some of ’em were really cute.

    How did that happen? I never suspected that I’d find boys desirable. It was NOT a conscious decision to like males. My question to the people who think they have no need for bathroom deodorant is when did THEY decide to be straight? They always say, “It just happened.”

    Oddly enough every gay friend of mine says the same thing, “It just happened.” As a scientist, I have to come to the conclusion that like so many of what makes each of us different happens while we’re under construction in our mother’s bodies.

    In nature, same sex attraction (ssa) is common. I’ve witnessed ssa in dogs, cats, reptiles and other animals. Some species of fish and worms change sex when the ratio of males to females is upset and there is no enough of one sex or the other. SSA is natural!

    The bible thumpers who think that ssa is somehow an “abomination” do not understand what the Hebrew word means. it means “this is not what we do” or “this is not our custom.” That is all it means. Besides, the thing they were talking about were pagan temple men who were not ssa but who performed ssa acts for whatever reason their idols demanded.

    What they really don’t bother to understand is that IDENTICAL WORD FOR SHELL FISH AND fish that have no scales and fins. Eating lobster, in other words, is an abomination…even with clarified butter.

    As a straight woman who has always had gay friends, it offends me that so-called Xians would try to block their fellow false Xians from “curing” SSA. Sorry, folks, there is no need to “cure” anything other than bigots. There is nothing wrong being in being SSA. There IS a lot wrong in being bigots and claiming to being holier than anyone else.

  • startenout

    I cannot believe he had the nerve to say, “How dare they inject themselves into the rights and freedoms of choice that those individuals hold,” when those same people would happily legislate away all rights for gay people and relegate us to being third class citizens.

  • Dumdum

    @bevmar: You are so smart. I have friends who love me and trust me with their kids. They know I am a good person. I have stories about kids and stuff. I am the silly smart friend that they love. I am Gay, but I want to have your baby. I do not want YOU to have the baby. I want to have it. Can you imagine, a guy pregnant? They are all like tuff and macho until the hormones kick in. Perhaps I will come back as a Sea Horse. I know I sound crazy but you are a very impressive person. My first crush. Never thought I would like a girl with cooties. :)

  • Dumdum

    @startenout: THIRD CLASS??? You are being optimistic. We would be in DEATH CAMPS if they had their way.

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