Right-Wing Liberty Counsel Opposes California’s Ban On Ex-Gay Therapy

Liberty Counsel, a right-wing public-interest law firm and ministry with ties to anti-gay groups, has come out in opposition to the ban on reparative therapy that was passed by the California Legislature last week.

Big shock there.

But we are a little surprised that the Counsel is essentially suggesting there should be no oversight in any kind of therapeutic care

In a statement on its website, LC issued this statement:

“If the bill is signed into law, Liberty Counsel will sue on behalf of counselors, parents, and minors who provide, refer, or who receive and have found change therapy to be beneficial,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

The bill defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as any practice that is designed to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction. Such broad language will prohibit any counseling that does not affirm and encourage experimentation with or acceptance of same-sex attractions, regardless of whether those feelings and attractions are unwanted by the counselee. The bill not only prohibits this type of treatment, but it makes it an ethical violation for any counselor or therapist to engage in it.

If the governor signs this law, mental health professionals will find themselves in a catch-22,” Staver said. Therapists have an ethical obligation to help clients deal with conflict. If a counselee is experiencing conflict between religious beliefs and same-sex attractions and wants to prioritize these beliefs over such attractions, the counselor is ethically obligated to directly help the client or refer for help. Under this bill, the counselor will be forced to disregard the client’s religious beliefs or change them. This bill will harm minors, undermine parental rights, and interfere with the rights of counselors. This bill and the ethical codes of all of the licensing boards in California are on an inevitable collision course,” said Staver. “The licenses of countless mental health professionals hang in the balance.”

The implications of the government determining what counseling treatments are acceptable should concern every counselor and citizen,” said Staver. “That decision should be left to the patient, the parents, and the doctors. The government has no place in that conversation,” Staver concluded.

The government has no place in vetting medical treatments? Perhaps the government should have no role in determining what food or drugs are acceptable to bring to market, either? If we want to sell arsenic as a health supplement and you’re willing to buy it, the FDA shouldn’t be allowed to step in, right?

For decades, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and every other reputable medical and therapeutic organization have said reparative therapy isn’t just ineffective, it’s dangerous. But just because it’s about sexual orientation and not, say, cancer, Staver thinks these groups should allow their members to practice treatments they’ve determined pose a risk to patients.

In recent years, Liberty Counsel has submitted briefs in favor of Lawrence v Texas‘ criminalization of homosexual sexual activity, condoning protests at reproductive-care clinics and attacking New York’s marriage-equality law.

Maybe they should think about changing their name?

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  • Neo

    Like their neo-conservative political practices and opinions, they wholly condone brainwashing and mental scaring. Given that they suffer from it among the worst in the world.

  • Dumdum

    This is total and utter insanity!!! As a Gay man I am all for personal freedom.But this country and indeed the world has taken religious dogma too far. Denial of ones sexual orientation due to conflict with religion or society’s so called norm is dangerous.It often creates violent aberrations with tragic results.Homophobia,hate crimes,drug abuse,alcohol abuse,suicide.Not every person coming out for the first time is strong enough to deal with the pressure of being rejected and hated by well almost everyone.We need places to go that help us not try to change us.I was in love with a 17 year old I was 16 and had been tossed out on my ear by my religious conservative family at 15.Mathew had run away from a Pentecostal home where he was told that god would destroy him because he was Gay. He was so beautiful and talented.With a photographic memory and could render a picture with pencil and paper that looked like a black and white photo.I was in awe of his ability cause I can’t even draw a stick figure without messing it up.He was very sensitive and terrified that being Gay was wrong.He had green eyes auburn red hair and pale unblemished skin. San Francisco was too much for him he left me and went home.His parents locked him away and less than a year later he hung himself and was dead.A beautiful light snuffed out by a vengeful god and horrible parents.Praise Jesus my Gay ass!!! Sometimes I wish that the Romans had fed every last Christian to the lions.Religious fanaticism is the root of all evil and will destroy this world unless global warming gets us first.

  • tdx3fan

    Any reputable therapist was already not going near “ex-gay” therapy, and any therapist that was (nationwide) or is needs to have their state license yanked. The first rule of any medicine is “first, do no harm!”

  • Dumdum

    There are no studies of adequate scientific rigor to conclude whether recent sexual orientation change efforts do work to change a person’s sexual orientation.The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation.The American Psychological Association says that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation”. Some individuals and groups have promoted the idea of homosexuality as symptomatic of developmental defects or spiritual and moral failings and argue that sexual orientation change efforts could alter homosexual feelings and behaviors.These individuals and groups are imbedded within the lager context of conservative religious political movements that support the stigmatization of homosexuality on political or religious grounds.No major mental health professional organization has sanctioned efforts to change sexual orientation and virtually all of them have adopted policy statements cautioning the profession and the public about treatments that purport to change sexual orientation. Thank You.

  • tdx3fan

    @Dumdum: The leader of Exodus International has come right out and said that it is IMPOSSIBLE to change your sexuality. He is now redesigning his group to focus on promoting celibacy (because it worked so well for priests — just keep any and all “ex-gays” away from 15 year old children PLEASE!).

  • Roger Rabbit

    They don’t want oversight because they are afraid it would lead to ministers being held accountable and reviewed for the bad “Christian Counseling” that they are doing.

    When I was growing up it was against their religion to even think of going to a licensed counselor of any kind because “God” could and would fix everything…


  • Guillermo3

    @tdx3fan: tdx3fan, You are,I’m sure,
    correct about reputable therapists going near EX-gay therapy.
    Sadly,some very reputable therapists,including one I was with
    for a very long time,believe that one can[with great effort and
    difficulty] can his/her sexual orientation if she/he really wants
    to.Not because of her advice,but because of my own mistaken
    desires and fears,I wasted a huge part of my life trying to change.
    In my experience,it doesn’t work,and I imagine it works for few,if
    any,others.Some people who believe they are EX-gay wind up doing
    great emotional harm to themselves and to others they love .

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