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Three Things You Should Consider About CA’s Proposed Ex-Gay Therapy Curbs

A commentary.

Jim Burroway

April 25th, 2012

There has been a lot of very brief reporting on a proposed California law to curb ex-gay therapy. Two things stood out for just about everyone who picked it up: 1) the law would ban ex-gay therapy for those who are under the age of 18, and 2) the law would require that two specific paragraphs be a part of the informed consent form that the patient would have to sign before therapy can begin. That’s a very brief summary of a 1200-word bill, so as you can expect, there are a lot of details being glossed over (that includes our initial report on the proposed law).

1: The Proposed Law Does Not Ban All Ex-Gay Therapy For Those Under 18.

There are a set of definitions that are critical to understanding what this law would do. Under Article 15, we read:

(b) “Psychotherapist” means a physician and surgeon specializing in the practice of psychiatry, a psychologist, a psychological assistant, a psychiatric technician, a marriage and family therapist, a registered marriage and family therapist, intern, or trainee, an educational psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, an associate clinical social worker, a licensed professional clinical counselor, or a registered clinical counselor, intern, or trainee.

Pay attention to what is not included in this list: pastors, ministers and lay counselors. What this list conveys is that those who are licensed or registered, or who are in training to become licensed or registered, would be subjected to the proposed law. In other words, California would be acting under its licensing and registration authority, and that authority does not extend to the religious sphere. Nor can it under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

The next two important definitions build on the one above:

(c) “Psychotherapy” means the professional assessment, evaluation, treatment, or counseling of a mental or emotional illness, symptom, or condition by a psychotherapist.

(d) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means psychotherapy aimed at altering the sexual or romantic desires, attractions, or conduct of a person toward people of the same sex so that the desire, attraction, or conduct is eliminated or reduced or might instead be directed toward people of a different sex. It does not include psychotherapy aimed at altering sexual desires, attractions, or conduct toward minors or relatives or regarding sexual activity with another person without that person’s consent. [Emphases mine.]

Having defined “Psychotherapist” in (b), and having restricted “Psychotherapy” to being a practice done according to the person defined as a “Psychotherapist” in (c), and having restricted the definition of “sexual orientation change efforts” according to the definition of “Psychotherapy” in (d), the proposed law narrowly restricts the laws effects to licensed and registered members of the medical and mental health professions.

And so when we get to the ban that everyone’s talking about:

865.2. (a) Under no circumstances shall a patient under 18 years of age undergo sexual orientation change efforts, regardless of the willingness of a patient’s parent, guardian, conservator, or other person to authorize such efforts.

(b) The right to refuse sexual orientation change efforts is not waived by giving informed consent and that consent may be withdrawn at any time prior to, during, or between sessions of sexual orientation change efforts.

(c) Any act of duress or coercion by any person or facility shall invalidate the patient’s consent to sexual orientation change efforts. [Emphasis mine.]

What we see is the consistent use of the phrase “sexual orientation change efforts” which was defined earlier to be very specific to “psychotherapy” offered by “psychotherapists,” each with their own specific definitions under this law.

This is critical, because it won’t prevent kids under 18 from being sent to, say, Exodus Board Member Don Schmierer’s His Way Out Ministries, or Living Stones Ministries or to dozens of other ex-gay ministries or churches. And the provisions covering duress or coercion won’t apply either, because they would apply only to those conditions set up in the definitions, and those definitions do not religious or church-based exgay ministries.

What the bill would do is pose a problem for any licensed professionals who work in those ministries. They would be confronted with a choice between giving up their work in those ministries or giving up their licenses. For those whose practice centers solely on ex-gay therapy, the choice will be an easy one: they will give up their licenses. But for those who depend on income from their practices in providing other forms of therapy, this could be a serious dilemma.

But more importantly, it really places the issue of religious freedom in much sharper focus. Already, the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) was quick out of the gate calling the prosed law “a not so subtle attack on religious liberty.” But it is no such thing. Quite the contrary. For those under 18 and their parents, if they want to enter a program that reinforces their religious beliefs, then they will rightly have the option of turning to a religious organization to do so. Which is as it should be. It is not the responsibility of the mental health establishment to enforce parents’ religious beliefs on those under 18.

2. The Proposed Law May Not Eliminate All Ex-Gay Therapy for Those Under 18 By Licensed Professionals.

This is trickier but equally important, and it goes to the very heart of the dishonesty of some of the ex-gay therapists who are licensed. Professional therapists already have a problem in billing insurance companies for their clients who are trying to change their sexual orientation: Insurance companies won’t foot the bill. There is no code in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual (DSM) for homosexuality, and a code is always required in insurance forms in order to be compensated. So how do those therapists get paid?

Easy. As I’ve personally heard a number of ex-gay therapists explain it, their clients are invariably distressed, anxious, depressed, and so forth. And there;s a whole smorgasbord of codes for them to chose from. And I know of at least one therapist who admitted that he is very careful about what he writes in his clinical notes. That way, if an insurance company wanted to see the records, it would be very difficult to tell that he was providing sexual orientation change therapy.

In other words, ex-gay therapists have already figured out ways around disclosing the kind of therapy they’re doing. Those practices will only become more widespread. And given the sanctity of client-patient privilege, it is very nearly impossible to investigate what a therapist is doing unless the client blows the whistle.

But that does bring us to a potential timebomb for licensed professionals:

865.3. (a) (1) A cause of action may be brought against a psychotherapist by a patient, former patient, or deceased former patient’s parent, child, or sibling if the sexual orientation change efforts were conducted without first obtaining informed consent or by means of therapeutic deception, or if the sexual orientation change efforts were conducted on a patient who was under 18 years of age at any point during the use of the sexual orientation change efforts.

(2) The patient, former patient, or deceased former patient’s parent, child, or sibling may recover actual damages, or statutory damages in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000), whichever is greater, in addition to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(3) The time for commencement of the action shall be within eight years of the date the patient or former patient attains the age of majority or within five years of the date the patient, former patient, or deceased former patient’s parent, child, or sibling discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the patient was subjected to sexual orientation change efforts in violation of this article.

(b) Nothing in this article precludes or limits the right of a patient, former patient, or deceased former patient’s parent, child, or sibling to bring a civil action against a psychotherapist arising from other legal claims.

If a therapist does offer sexual orientation change therapy and the client reaches a point where he or she feels damaged by that therapy, the client can seek damages. But if the therapist’s notes and records were already written to obscure the fact that he was offering sexual orientation change therapy, then it would make the patients’ claims more difficult to press. On the other hand, merely defending himself against the charges would prove very costly for the therapist. All licensed therapists would have to carefully weigh that risk if this bill becomes law.

3. The Proposed Bill Inserts California Law Between the Client and Practitioner.

I raise this issue because it is one which should always be carefully considered whenever a bill like this comes along. There are times when I think health care would be much better if government butts out. Two examples are abortion and medical marijuana, which, in my view, have become far too politicized to the point where it’s virtually impossible to discuss the medical merits of those issues. We have right now legislatures mandating invasive and humiliating procedures before an abortion can be obtained under the guise of ensuring the woman’s “informed consent” — as if women had no idea what they were asking for. In my opinion, that’s where some state governments have gone way too far.

Government does play an important role in ensuring that the practice of medicine and psychotherapy (properly defined) is safe and, to a lesser extent, effective. But when government inserts itself between client and practitioner, it really needs to have a damn good reason to do so.  It’s why we have FDA approval for drugs, and it is why doctors in my old hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, are being rounded up for indiscriminately prescribing Oxycontin (a.k.a. “hillbilly heroin”) to all comers. Those are just two examples where government intrudes into the client-practitioner relationship, and I think we can agree that they are good ones. Medicine (and psychotherapy) is not without risks in the hands of the unscrupulous, unethical, unskilled, or the zealot.

So for me personally, I have no problems with banning ex-gay therapy for those under 18. Parents who have religious reasons for seeking ex-gay therapy for their children will still have plenty of options, and given the actual state of ex-gay therapy there is no reason to believe that those options would be any better or worse than those provided by so-called “experts.” And with regard to ex-gay therapy, informed consent has been a particularly troublesome area all along, which is the second major area this law proposes to address. But I do have one quibble with the legislation. It mandates that the following two paragraphs be included in the informed consent form for the prospective patient to read and sign:

“Having a lesbian, gay, or bisexual sexual orientation is not a mental disorder. There is no scientific evidence that any types of therapies are effective in changing a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation change efforts can be harmful. The risks include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

Medical and mental health associations that oppose the use of sexual orientation change efforts include the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.”

To be absolutely precise, those statements aren’t the medical establishment’s opinion on sexual orientation change efforts. Strictly speaking, they represent the California legislature’s interpretationof the medical establishment’s opinion. I think it happens to be a very accurate interpretation today, but it may not be accurate tomorrow. And the problem with California law — and any law — is that it has a way becoming indelibly written far past its prime. Remember, a 1955 law requiring California to conduct research on curing homosexuality wasn’t repealed until 2010. While I doubt that the science will change much, having this statement engraved in law may be good law for 2012, but it’s never good medical practice to have anything set in stone. It would be far better if the legislation directed the state health department to either compose the paragraph, or give it authority to revise it as conditions warrant.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

How could anyone imagine that taking away a professional license due to religious belief is an attack on religion? It’s a simple choice: either refuse to counsel the young person who wishes to seek this counsel or give up your license. No problem. Freedom. America.

As for the kid, his family, their church, and everyone who knows him or shares his beliefs? Of who cares about them? We have our will to impose, you know, and no silly little concepts like autonomy are going to stand in our way.

andrewdb
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

A “Life Coach” usually doesn’t need any sort of license and so would be typically beyond the reach of this statute.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

No one is taking away anyone’s license Timothy. It’s the psychologists choice, if he or she wants to be licensed member they’re obliged to adhere to professional standards, if he or she doesn’t want to do that they aren’t forced to be a licensed member. It has nothing to do with one’s religious beliefs, it has to do with their actions as a psychologist – they’re free to believe whatever they want.

Some people think their religious beliefs should entitle them to kill gays and argue in the same way that preventing them from doing so is an attack on their religious beliefs. Freedom to believe whatever you want does not entitle you to absolute freedom to act in accordance with those beliefs.

Mark Miner
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

OK, this is relevant to my interests, big time. I do classical poetry, and I do it with initiation as the end I have in mind. My strategy has always been to disassociate from any particular outcomes, any particular audience member’s narrative, and focus on the characters: what happens to them, as they choose to marry or not?
I have always had the feeling that initiation of any kind would get harder and harder, as society’s vision of what we wanted men to be got vaguer and vaguer, and as feminists got sharper and sharper about snipping the link between what they see as one generation’s “masculine dysfunction” and the next. But the outright prohibition of the goal of initiation — fostering a sense of the unformed, role-model hungry boy as proper husband and father, is beyond even my wildest dreams. I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I just hope candid and fervent discussions follow this proposal. On the gay side, that gay folks learn an appreciation for initiation as containing the “secrets of masculinity” that they have always wanted to know and possess; on the straight side, that the impulse to initiate (shown in its ugliest form in the story of Abraham circumcizing Isaac) has got to include more flexibility (for non-maritally oriented kids,) consideration, and common decency than it has in the past.
—Mark Miner

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

It’s a well established and (to my knowledge) universally accepted principle in law that children don’t have the same capacity to informed consent that adults and and therefore its reasonable to disallow them to do things adults are allowed to do such as driving and drinking.

Arguing that because the child wants harmful “therapy” and a religious person wants to give it to them it should be allowed is no different than arguing that if a child wants to drink and an adult wants to sell them alcohol they both should be allowed to do so. There should be no special rights for religionists, religious beliefs are not a valid excuse to break the law or give some exceptions to it.

aNDREW
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Where we start to get into problems, here is where people aren’t empowered to make informed decisions for themselves. And that brings me here to a question of psychotherapy for children. As a survivor of childhood mental abuse at the hands of a licensed psychologist (turns out marriage counselors are not child psychologists… who knew?), I can tell you that damage is done far outside of reparative therapy, and often these quacks protect themselves from the natural protective instincts of the parents by describing the dire consequences of stopping therapy.

IMHO, all therapy for children under the age of 18 should have a SEVERELY heightened degree of scrutiny both for justification and for outcome, reviewed preferably by third parties unknown to the practicising clinician. Because the amount of damage you can do to a young person is astonishing, and sometimes permanent.

IMHO, any program designed to adopt certain strategies, tactics, or techniques should be considered “psychotherapy” regardless of who practices them. Psychology practiced by clergy should be subject to the same scrutiny as mucking about in someone’s skull regardless when it involves techniques specific to therapy that are not commonly adopted in pastoral environments. Otherwise, we can start arguing that clergy can do… anything they want. Prescribe medication. Manage my 401k. Perform surgery! Why not? It’s all covered in the First Amendment, right? These are unqualified persons engaging in highly intrusive behaviors in very dangerous waters and they should be held accountable for the damage they are intentionally inflicting to satisfy their own psychological needs (and make no mistake – this is more about the practitioner than the patient).

Lastly, fraudulent coding for insurance and other purposes is precisely that: fraud. I would enhance the rights of insurance companies to recoup funds paid, insist on transparent disclosure to patients (who are not certified to read insurance encoding), provide for anonymous whistleblowing for patients (I’d have anonymous whistleblowing trigger investigation, but not be used as evidence), and markedly enhanced penalties and fines sufficient to fund the overall program… and the withdrawal of licensing with a national database to prevent de-licensed quacks from setting up shop in another state.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Those who see the occupation of professionals as an extension of society’s collective will as best determined by those elected will see this as a natural and normal thing. It is, as Cardinal Dolan procribes, true freedom, the liberty to do what we ought.

Those who see the occupation of professionals as the work of individuals who seek personal meaning and the advancement of their learning will see this as an intrusion on their rights and freedoms.

I fall into the latter category.

CPT_Doom
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, I see your point, but here is my question – does an oncologist have a right to prescribe a product, like Laetrile, that does not work? Does the state have an obligation to ensure the professionals it licenses are not conducting malpractice?

It seems to me the narrow crafting of these bills and their definitions was done deliberately to narrow the scope of the law to those professionals who are at the level of a physician. As Jim noted, nothing in the law prevents spiritual counseling by non-psychoterapists aimed at changing sexual orientation, nor does it prevent a religious psychotherapist from conducting therapy with the aim of celibacy – just not actual change. Seeing as there has never been a scientifically documented case of sexual orientation change (meaning evidence of a physiological change in the patient), I think the aims of the law are correct, although I share some of Jim’s concerns and would want to see it altered before any vote.

Kith
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,

Then why have any regulations. A Doctor may feel strongly that bleeding patients to drive out the bad humors is proven to work in 1 out of 1,000,000 people and the patient fully wants to have his bad humors bleed out, then by all means let them, they are informed and he is answering to his greater feelings, right?

I am finding it stranger and stranger how we seem to feel that professionals suddenly have a right to their profession. Cab Drivers who don’t want to pick up dogs and women, Vegan Butchers who don’t want to touch meat, public workers who want to keep their face covered at all times, county clerks who don’t want to give out marriage licenses, pharmacists who don’t want to pass out pills. If your religion and job collide, you are free to practice your religion and you are free to find a new job.

Yes some jobs take quite a lot of time to train for and the sometimes the rules change around you. Yet if the rules change for any reason other then “religous”, it seems you are forced to re-train or get a new job. Compare 90% insurance coverage of birth control to a popular method of oven drying lithographs to speed up production. Both the Pharmacist and the lithographer find their jobs suddenly changing. And both have a moral opposition to the change. Suddenly the pharmacist screams “Religious prosecution!” and legislation gets passed to protect his ass. The lithographer complains about how the new method uses fuel and is less green then air dry but is primarily ignored and told not to let the door hit him on the way out. Both are prime examples of the industry for highly trained and specialized workers changing. Why do we care so much about one but not the other? Why do people declare the Pharmacist a hero and the lithographer a hippy freak? Is religious belief, sincerely held or otherwise, really that unique and special must we put religious people on a pedestal and suffer their tantrums?

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

It’s why we have FDA approval for drugs … and I think we can agree that they are good ones

No, we don’t all think alike on this. Many of us recall the deaths that were directly caused by the FDA’s refusal to allow life-saving drugs to be sold in the US in the 80’s.

I am all for forcing honesty and truth in advertising. I’m all for disclosure and clarity. But I have never understood why the “We Shall Decide For You” attitude of the FDA has gotten so much support.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Kith,

I am finding it stranger and stranger how we seem to feel that professionals suddenly have a right to their profession. Cab Drivers who don’t want to pick up dogs and women, Vegan Butchers who don’t want to touch meat, public workers who want to keep their face covered at all times, county clerks who don’t want to give out marriage licenses, pharmacists who don’t want to pass out pills. If your religion and job collide, you are free to practice your religion and you are free to find a new job.

Wow. That sent chills down my back.

Not good chills.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

You know, “proposed California law to curb ex-gay therapy” is just too wordy. I propose that for simplicity’s sake we simply call this the “Don’t Say Ex-Gay Bill”.

Jim Burroway
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Those who see the occupation of professionals as an extension of society’s collective will …

Those who see the occupation of professionals as the work of individuals who seek personal meaning and the advancement of their learning …

The occupation of these particular kinds of professionals is neither of these things. They do not do the work of society’s collective will, nor are they on a mission of personal meaning (although they are expected to be engaged in the advancement of learning). That is a false dichotomy.

The Hippocratic Oath is probably the best way to see the occupation of these particular professionals. And if they are to be given credence as professionals, it includes respecting “hard-won scientific gains,” while providing the patient with the best, competent care. And in those regards, there is little doubt that the state, which its licensing procedures, has an interest in saying that its licensing — its stamp of approval on a practitioner — is meaningful.

That’s why the state has an interest in ensuring that licensed professionals aren’t prescribing pain medication to those who request them but have no medical need for them. The state has an interest in ensuring that licensed professionals aren’t selling laetril treatments to cancer patients who ask for it, because it will provide no benefit to them. And the state has the same interest here in ex-gay therapy.

The only objection I see is that because the motivaton for seeking ex-gay therapy is typically religious, then that concern should override the state’s interest in making sure its stamp of approval via its license is meaningful. It would mean that ex-gay therapy then becomes a category that is treated differently from laetril, indiscriminate pain medication, or other forms of proscribed treatments solely because religious people want it, and solely because a tiny few religious professionals want to provide it.

But it’s not the role of health care professionals to help one conform oneself to a set of religious beliefs or to advance the religious beliefs of others. Parents can’t bring their children to doctors so that their children will become better Jews, better Catholics, better Scientologist. Last I checked, that was not the role of a doctor. That’s what ministers are supposed to do. And they will still be there to do that. Exodus has a whole list of them on their web site that this bill will not touch.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

I would also oppose the following:

There should be no special rights for homosexuals, homosexual urges are not a valid excuse to break the law or give some exceptions to it.

But let’s not let consistency apply.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Jim,

This isn’t about psychotherapists seeking to restrict practices. It’s about politicians seeking to impose ideology.

Let’s not confuse the two.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

By the way, I hate having to defend those with whom I disagree. But this is wrong.

If this were about any other group we would be in agreement, all of us.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Jim,

Exodus has a whole list of them on their web site that this bill will not touch.

Tell that to Phillip Sutton and David Maynard and Robert Vazzo. As Kith put it, Phillip and David and Robert are free to find a new job.

Jim Burroway
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Tell that to Phillip Sutton and David Maynard and Robert Vazzo. As Kith put it, Phillip and David and Robert are free to find a new job.

It is not and never was their job to make kids of religious parents better reflections of their parents values. IF that was their job, then they were in the wrong business to begin with.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “There should be no special rights for homosexuals, homosexual urges are not a valid excuse to break the law or give some exceptions to it.

But let’s not let consistency apply.”

I agree with that completely. And I am consistent despite your false accusation that I’m not. I’ve never asked for gays to be given any rights no one else has or to be exempt from laws everyone else follows because they are gay. Unlike with religion where the religious get special exemptions from discrimination laws, the law requiring contraceptives to be dispensed and so on. Show me where there is a gay exemption from the law just as there are religious exemptions from the law and I’ll be there with bells on opposing that as well.

Priya Lynn
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Kith said “If your religion and job collide, you are free to practice your religion and you are free to find a new job.”

Timothy said “Wow. That sent chills down my back.”.

Unjustifiable chills. If I’m hired by Toyota to sell cars and I refuse to sell anything but hybrids because I believe other cars are unethical they’ll fire my ass and rightly so. It should be no different with religious beliefs, there should be no special rights for religionists.

Jaime
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Any professional in the medical field who is licensed, is by definition, state or professional society certified as being able to provide care which meets that state or professional societies accepted standard of medical practice. Any professional thus licensed may provided care different from proven practice, but the more removed from that standard, the more susceptible they are to censure and litigation. Any professional that believes they have a certain medical practice which would improve the standard of care is always free to conduct appropriately monitored and consented studies and then have them reviewed by colleagues demonstrating the improved results from their idea. The problem in this circumstance is there are no studies which demonstrate “improved outcome.” Indeed, the study typically referenced for justification of this “therapy” has been publicly repudiated by the author ( http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/04/11/43514 ).
Professions do have a right to set, and expect, their standards of care to be upheld. That is the fundamental basis of professional societies, an organization which provides authoritative backing that an individual is able to provide an acceptable standard of care. After review of the evidence, accepted professional groups (AMA, APA, APA, AAP…) have found no medical support. I agree with J.B’s criticism of the legislature interpreting the rejections of these groups and codification of medical understanding. For me, the true problem is medical professionals not being truthful in how they address their actions and billing for an unproven or harmful therapy under false headings.

Reed
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Passing over Timothy’s point, I’m wondering if the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors) will particularly exploit the loop-hole.

Regan DuCasse
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

In our country, not only is one’s religion a choice, but it’s not ENFORCED by our country, precisely for reasons of that free choice.

Religious belief and modern medical and psychiatric practices have ALWAYS collided.
What’s important is that these professions, techniques and diagnosis have had to evolve, and change with improved experimentation, research and standards of licensing for practitioners.

Most of what’s been rejected by legitimate peer groups is specifically because they no longer apply, are harmful or are ineffective.
Ex gay therapy has had it’s time, it’s not a THEORY it doesn’t work and all the rest, it’s a PROVEN result.

I don’t think these people so quick to place gays under 19th century psychiatric practices would submit to the same for help THEY needed for something else.
So called ex gay therapists are very guilty of MISDIAGNOSIS. Because homosexuality in and of itself is not dangerous, nor renders a person incompetent or incapable of functioning in normal ways.
I think 18 is still WAY to low a threshold, because we ARE talking about young people who have little life experience to be so informed.

There are many religious beliefs that require their members to reject certain medical or psychiatric interventions, which are actually conducive to individual well being.
Contraception, for one thing.
The contention with contraception is this archaic obsession with controlling what people do with their sex lives.
Take away contraception, people will be more restrained with it.
Maintain stigma against those who use it, contraception itself, and those who cannot or will not use sex to make babies.
And even though contraception is widely used, the religious can’t say it’s a restriction of THEIR religious freedom when people do. Although there are some who insist it is.

See, that’s not a psychiatric problem in gay individuals…or women.
It’s the madness of the overreaching control freak religious communities that don’t know or care when something isn’t their damn business.

Andrew
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

I think Priya and I are entirely on the same page here, and I’m either baffled by Tim, or not fully understanding him.

Assuming that I’m understanding him correctly, it feels like a disagreement between religion as public and religion as private. To me, at least. I fall into the latter camp (religion is a strictly private matter – for my home, my family, and/or my church, but not my job, and not my government) — but I think that “private / public” falls into the category of “assumption”, which, if not discussed, can lead to us talking past one another, because we aren’t working from a common set of boundaries.

Andrew
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Which is not to say that I’m right on the public/private definition of religion… it’s just very fundamental to how I see it for me, and requires some serious paradigm shifting on my part if someone else is not seeing policy decisions that way. And if it’s core to the discussion, then perhaps that’s the real issue, and the rest are just detailed that follow logically from that fundamental disagreement?

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

I’ll say the obvious one more time:

This is not the APA begging California to set up standards which it is lacking the ability to do itself. The APA chose not to make this demand recently. Recall that? This is POLITICIANS imposing their will ON THE THERAPISTS. And the gay community applauding.

I believe that ex-gay therapy does not result in change in orientation. An I don’t want any legitimacy to that realm of therapy. But I think it should be countered by study and research and real therapy.

Y’all want to pass a law.

And that is just plain wrong. And it validates every claim that the nutcases make.

We are not the ethical people in this battle. We are not the champions of freedom and liberty. We are not the ones putting either therapist or patient first.

If you need to make up excuses so as to feel better, go right ahead. But I’m sad about that.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Andrew

No, this isn’t even really about the place of religion. This is about punishing and hindering therapists who say things that the Legislature doesn’t like. They happen to be based on religion which is triggering the usual “anything that hurts religious people is good by me” response.

This should terrify all of us.

We REALLY don’t want the government telling the therapists what therapy they can and can’t do. They didn’t even go that far back when the roles were reversed. We are behaving WORSE than Sen. McCarthy; he never insisted that therapists couldn’t offer affirmative or supportive therapy.

Timothy Kincaid
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

In our country, not only is one’s religion a choice, but it’s not ENFORCED by our country, precisely for reasons of that free choice.

Which is why the state should not ENFORCE the views about religion that are driving this legislation.

Désirée
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, are you missing the point that this is about *children*? You know that normally I am right there with you when it comes to libertarian ideas regarding business and personal freedom, but in this case: children legally *cannot* give informed consent, so a law preventing a potentially harmful form of therapy being performed on children at the request of their parents seems perfectly logical.

I do agree that the 2 “informed consent” paragraphs are misleading and should be removed.

Jim Burroway
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

We REALLY don’t want the government telling the therapists what therapy they can and can’t do

Are you mad? Surely you can’t be serious!

I guess it’s time to throw open the pain clinics to all comers. After all, we don’t want the government telling therapists what they can and can’t do!

We are behaving WORSE than Sen. McCarthy; he never insisted that therapists couldn’t offer affirmative or supportive therapy.

Timothy, you are seriously jumping the shark! There was no affirmative or supportive therapy in 1950.

Seriously, you’re not making sense. You’re screaming on and on about Religious Freedom! Religious Freedom! But you have failed to explain what religious freedom has to do with therapy. You have also failed to explain how it is that the state does not have a vested interest in seeing its licensure being applied to sound, effective, and safe treatments. Instead, you seem intent on placing the therapists private religious beliefs ahead not only of good science, but also the best interest of their clients.

You have not offered even the SLIGHTEST thread of evidence that “views about religion that are driving this legislation.” You have simply jumped to that conclusion based, as far as I can tell, solely on the fact that the bill’s sponsor is gay. If you have any other basis for your suspicion then you really should name it.

I’ve been looking at the ex-gay movement for at least as long as you have. I’ve attending their conferences and hearing them talk first hand. AND I’ve met more ex-gay survivors than I ever though possible. I’m in email exchanges with one and had a long phone conversation with another just after Christmas.

There are therapies that inflict great harm in those who undergo them. Chemotherapy inflicts great harm, but at least there is the possibility of a cure. But as we know, there is no “cure” with ex-gay therapy. None.

So let’s drop the pretense that it has any therapeutic merit. You know as well as I do that it doesn’t.

And the state most definitely has an interest in regulating therapies that have the great potential for harm.

Nobody’s religious freedoms are being violated here. As I said, there are tons of ex-gay ministries around to support people’s religious beliefs.

And seriously, if you think for a moment that I’m making up excuses so as to feel better, then you really don’t have any idea…

Samiimas
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

“If this were about any other group we would be in agreement, all of us.”

It’s a quack treatment that’s shown no signs of actually working. The fact that the thing they’re treating is homosexuality is irrelevant. If they were peddling a cure for depression that every credible mental health organization had called a load of crap I’d support banning that for people under 18 to. Peddle your snake oil, but not to children.

The rules are simply different for minors. An adult has the freedom to drive, smoke and drink, minors don’t. This applies to medical procedures as well. Someone in the other thread mentioned how us trannsexuals also have to wait until we’re 18. The big mean government bans us from getting proper genitals during our teenage years when we’d get the most use out of them, and I fully understand why they do it. A child being presured into a sex change is quite rarer than a child being pressured into being straight, but it could happen and it’s societies job to stop it the same way we’d stop a arent from buying their child cigarettes.

Though to be frank I don’t see why it’s only restricted to minors. I’m totally ignorant on the subject but aren’t all medical practitioners required to be licensed by the state and don’t these licenses require you meet certain standards? If they’re selling a treatment that simply doesn’t work why should they be licensed anymore than a doctor selling placebos? I’m not saying BS medical claims should be illegal, they’re free to sell their product right between the dousing rods and the magnetic bracelets which cure HIV *actually saw a booth selling those at a convention*, but why should the state license the ex-gay quacks if they ban all the other quacks?

Jay Jonson
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

We really do want the government telling psychologists and other mental health professionals that they must adhere to such ethical guidelines as informing their patients that the “therapy” they are offering has been determined to have risks. We really do want the government to prevent psychological abuse of young people. This legislation is much needed. Ethical mental health professionals will support it. NARTH and “Christian” therapists will not.

Jay Jonson
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

I suppose Timothy thinks that the therapy practiced by George Rekers at UCLA should not be prohibited.

Rachel H
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Dang – just lost a really long post. Suffice it to say that I’m with Jim: this is about maintaining professional standards.

The same law willl apply to any non-religious therapists wanting to offer a gay ‘cure’.

Mark F.
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

“We really do want the government to prevent psychological abuse of young people.”

As an atheist, I find that parents imposing their religion on their children to be a form of “psychological abuse.” How would you feel if I wanted to prohibit parents from making their children attend religious services?

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “We are not the ethical people in this battle. We are not the champions of freedom and liberty.”.

You’re blinded by the belief that religion deserves privilege, we are the ethical people in this battle. It does not automatically follow that being a champion of freedom is the ethical thing to do. The vast majority of us would agree that its ethical to oppose the freedom of liquor vendors who want to sell to children and children who want to buy alcohol. The vast majority of us would agree that its ethical and desirable to oppose the freedom of an 11 year old to drive a car – absolute freedom isn’t a good thing. Just as with those cases its ethical and desirable to deny people the freedom to sell ineffective and potentially dangerous services even if someone wants to purchase them.

Timothy said “We are not the ones putting either therapist or patient first.”.

Wrong again. We are putting the patient first, saving him from wasting money on an ineffective and potentially dangerous “therapy”. The APA says those who positively accept their sexual orientation are happier and better adjusted than those who do not. This “therapy” reinforces attitudes that harm people’s mental health and diminish their happiness. Just because the “therapist” wants to make money from selling snake oil does not mean that he should be allowed to do so, it is unethical to “put the “therapist” first” in this situation.

Timothy said “This is about punishing and hindering therapists who say things that the Legislature doesn’t like.”.

I can’t believe you’re comming up with this kind of nonsense. This has nothing to do with punishing “therapists”, its about protecting children who can’t give informed consent.

Timothy said “If this were about any other group we would be in agreement, all of us.”

No we most certainly would not. Just as I oppose people selling quack treatments for cancer I oppose people selling quack treatments for gayness. You seem to think that if someone’s motivation to do something harmful is religious rather than secular that that justifies allowing them to procede, it most certainly does not. Freedom of religion is not and cannot be absolute. People can use their religious beliefs to inform their promotion of laws but if there is not a secular purpose behind a law then that is the government unconstitutionally promoting religion and is illegal. There is no secular purpose to allowing “exgay” therapy and for the government licensing practice to allow it is an unconstitutional promotion of religion and is illegal as well as unethical and harmful.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Mark F said “As an atheist, I find that parents imposing their religion on their children to be a form of “psychological abuse.” How would you feel if I wanted to prohibit parents from making their children attend religious services?”.

I’d be all for it. Children are brainwashed into accepting religion before they’re old enough to think rationally for themselves, the right thing to do would be to make parents wait until their children are adults before they’re allowed to attempt to indoctrinate children into a harmful belief system.

But that’s not what we are talking about here. This is not about the government prohibiting private citizens from practicing religion as they please, its about the government saying the psychologists we license aren’t allowed to promote ineffective and potentially harmful therapies and they aren’t allowed to offern therapies that have no secular purpose and thus unconstitutionally promote religion.

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Seriously, you’re not making sense. You’re screaming on and on about Religious Freedom! Religious Freedom! But you have failed to explain what religious freedom has to do with therapy. You have also failed to explain how it is that the state does not have a vested interest in seeing its licensure being applied to sound, effective, and safe treatments. Instead, you seem intent on placing the therapists private religious beliefs ahead not only of good science, but also the best interest of their clients.

Oh? I’m screaming on about Religious Freedom, Religious Freedom? Really?

I think perhaps you’re mistaking the point I’m making with the excuse you’ve created in your head for why you are willing to give up your principles on this issue.

Here is what I see:

1. The CA legislature wishes to prohibit one vein of therapy.

2. This ie ENTIRELY political in motivation. No professional organization is calling for this bill. It is in opposition to the stated position of at least one of the most prominent mental health organizations.

3. Prohibitions based on political position are something that most of our readers find suspect. However, because the prohibition is directed towards a group which is primarily religious, exceptions are being made.

My position is the same whether this is religious or not. If it were a division alone race lines or orientation I would have the same response. I do not believe that religion invalidates constitutional rights nor do I believe that religious people are less entitled to freedom than anyone else.

Were a bill proposed which would ban transgender therapy for minors, or which would prohibit therapy that was designed to reconcile identity issues for immigrant minors, I know what your position would be. But because this is religion, you have abandoned that which you believe in order to harm that which you dont like.

I am really saddened not to find any other champions of liberty here. Very very sad.

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Rachel

“this is about maintaining professional standards”

Just one question: whose standards are being maintained? (A or B)

A – the mental health community
B – the politicians

Jim Burroway
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Were a bill proposed which would ban transgender therapy for minors, or which would prohibit therapy that was designed to reconcile identity issues for immigrant minors, I know what your position would be.

Well that’s some pretty amazing mindreading on your part, because to be honest, I don’t kow what my position would be. I don’t know what kind of harms vs. benefits that have come from those therapies you describe.

For you to presume that I support this measure because, somehow only or most religious people are affected (even though I bent over backwards to pointed out that religious-based “therapy” most certianly is not affected) with, to be frank with you now, is deeply offensive. You have no cause whatsoever for doing that. That you do speaks more about you than me.

I will leave it at that.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “Were a bill proposed which would ban transgender therapy for minors, or which would prohibit therapy that was designed to reconcile identity issues for immigrant minors, I know what your position would be.”.

Ironic you should mention that because as I mentioned on the other thread transgender therapy for the most part IS banned for minors. They are not allowed to have sex reassignment surgery, they are not allowed to take hormones of the desired gender and at the most they are allowed hormone blockers to delay the onset of secondary sexual characteristics they don’t desire until they are 18 and can give informed consent to surgery and hormone therapy.

I think this is unfortunate but I also agree with the restriction. I think it unlikely that any child wishing to be the other gender is mistaken but we can’t say that is true with certainty so I support this restriction. And now for you to suggest I’m ethically obligated to support minors taking “exgay” “therapy” is wrong to the Nth degree.

Timothy said “I am really saddened not to find any other champions of liberty here. Very very sad.”.

Once again, you are implying that the best thing is always to support freedom and that is not the case. Just as it is a bad idea to support the freedom of minors to buy alchol and vendors to sell it to them and it is a bad idea to support the freedom of an 11 year old to drive or take a gun to school it is a bad idea to support the “freedom” of a minor to choose (or almost certainly be pushed into) “exgay” “therapy”.

No, its a good, just, and ethical thing that I am not a “champion of liberty” in this case and its unfortunate and very very sad that you are.

liquid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, to propose a question to you:
There is a decision currently pending where i live and work to require ultrasound guidance for non-emergent central line placement. the studies are clear, the risk of incredibly dangerous complications-such as carotid artery cathertization, lung puncture, infection introduction, and a whole host of others drops phenomenally with ultrasound guidance. However, there is a contingent of practioners claiming that such a ruling would infringe on their right to practice as they see fit. As a medical professional, i am appalled that my colleagues would be willing to put their patients at such high risk simply for personal preference. However, would you find yourself in agreement, that such restrictions of their rights are abhorrent?

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

OK – I have sympathies with Tim here… not that I agree with him, but because I’ve spent my time being totally alone in an argument no one else seemed to agree with in a given thread.

And there are a couple of things I think that are contributing to possible differences here.

First of all, I’m not hearing anyone give any credence to much of any part of Tim’s argument, and I think there are logical merits, although I disagree with his conclusions.

Second of all, never forget when you get into these “wtf are you taking about” exchanges that there are likely to be mutually exclusive narratives informing our positions — assumptions and experiences that are unsaid. I limited my previous comments to public/private expressions of religion, but it goes far beyond that — the role of government, regulation, the validity/safety of therapy, the meaning of informed consent, and the fragility of children, etc. There are at least 3-4 highly emotional hot button issues going on there. So stop and listen for those cues, because someone may be speaking from personal experience, or from assumptions that are well outside what you think you’re talking about here.

And personally, I find that the more people box me into a corner, the more likely I am to stick to my guns (good for you, Tim – seriously – even though I think you’re wrong).

Palmer
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Seems like Box Turtle Bulletin might finally be imploding from the weight of a certain moderator’s descent into sanctimony.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

All of that said, I completely disagree with Tim here.

We are talking about a form of therapy that has shown no validity and considerable long-term irreparable harm (if someone told me it contributed to suicides, i would be unsurprised).

It exists solely because of animus to gay people predicated on religious attitudes. Perhaps we can perform reperative therapy to encourage black people to become white, I don’t know… I think we’re going to have the same degree of success.

This abuse does several lethal (yes, I do mean lethal) things –
it pathologizes same-sex attractions,
it provides the illusion that same-sex attractions are choice-driven and remediable, and
it is expressly used as a powerful public-relations tool to wage a highly staged and coordinated social war against a disenfranchised minority by misinforming a much larger HIGHLY UNinformed (and disinterested) public. With animus.

I utterly doubt the sincerity of any of these practitioners – *maybe* they believe in their righteousness because they think gayness is “evil”, but that’s not a medical opinion. IMHO, these quacks should just cut their costs and burn a cross on my front yard. It would reduce their overhead.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

None of this addresses Tim’s concern – which (if I read him right) is at least partly government overreach by dictating professional practices to “medical” professionals AND, he’s very worried about mindless lockstep applause from a community that so often opposes this tactic when employed by our opposition. I believe he expresses true concern that by supporting this action, we are encouraging further legislative battles where government is used to intrude into private medical relationships.

I think, based on his arguments, the nearest parallel is the conservative movement’s drive to leverage legislation to prohibit abortion through intrusive rules and regulations, etc. And there’s some validity to that from the 40,000 foot view.

But here’s the thing: reparative therapy is a hoax. it’s a lie. it’s nothing but abuse and recruitment plied with the veneer of “professional credentials” and religious righteousness. It does not work, therefore it is not a valid form of therapy.

Abortion works. Whether you agree or disagree with its morality, abortions can be performed safely and effectively. The insertion of government into that procedure, therefore, is based exclusively on politics, and lacks any scientific foundation. There may be room for that, but it must be couched as moral legislating, not masqueraded as science-based regulation.

Here, however, it’s NOT a stretch to argue that just as we prohibit someone from selling tap water to cancer patients and promise them that if they believe enough they’ll be cured (and perhaps, in a few cases, there will be spontaneous remission thanks to the placebo effect), the public has every interest in preventing the sale of an ineffective and harmful sham of a therapy.

You can’t label poisoned dog meat “100% pure beef”, and you can’t label “reparative therapy” psychology, psychotherapy, counselling, or anything — other than abuse.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Andrew said “And personally, I find that the more people box me into a corner, the more likely I am to stick to my guns (good for you, Tim – seriously – even though I think you’re wrong).”.

Sticking to one’s guns regardless of the situation is not a virture.

Jim Burroway
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Setting aside the utter nonsense that this bill is an attack on religion…

I do have some reservations about this bill which are worth discussing. (which i will now try to tap out on my iPhone, so please bear with me!) I fully support the bill’s goals: informed consent, and preventing teens from being coerced into therapy.

I already described my objection to the remedy for first goal in the main post.

The second goal, I think, is important. What is not clear is what you do in a case where a teen is not coerced and freely wants this form of therapy. The obvious problem would be how you would determine that the teen is free from coercion. Unless the teen were “divorced” from his parents, I don’t know how you would do that. But if such a determination could be made without creating a loophole big enough for just anyone to slide in, I think a not-so-complete ban for those under 18 would be appropriate.

Alternatively if the informed consent added that the ONLY realistic outcome would be a change in behavior only and not orientation, attractions and/or fantasy, it might diminish sufficiently the false hopes that some parents might place in SOCE. Although I can also imagine Nicolosi being very persuasive in saying “California makes me give this to you to sign, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. Trust me instead.”

Which is why I tend to lean toward restrictions on therapy for those under 18.

F Young
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

“In other words, California would be acting under its licensing and registration authority, and that authority does not extend to the religious sphere. Nor can it under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.”
…..
“For those under 18 and their parents, if they want to enter a program that reinforces their religious beliefs, then they will rightly have the option of turning to a religious organization to do so. Which is as it should be.”

I disagree. Child abuse is still child abuse, and a state has a perfect right to ban it even when it is committed by clergy or churches. They are not exempt from the law just because they claim their religion says that ex-gay therapy is mandated by the Bible or Koran any more than they are for child abuse, honour killings and terrorism. The state has a legitimate right to protect minors from harm by anyone, including churches and clergy.

“This is critical, because it won’t prevent kids under 18 from being sent to, say, Exodus Board Member Don Schmierer’s His Way Out Ministries, or Living Stones Ministries or to dozens of other ex-gay ministries or churches.”

I agree, but that means the bill does not go far enough. In fact, it could be counter-productive because it gives churches and “pray away the gay” ministries a lucrative monopoly. As it is, it might not actually reduce the abuse much, but would instead reward the churches that practice it. It would be a windfall to them.

Mark F.
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

“Child abuse is still child abuse, and a state has a perfect right to ban it even when it is committed by clergy or churches.”

I think it is a form of child abuse to tell children that gay relationships are sinful. Should we send parents/teachers/clergy who do that to prison? Why not?

Mark F.
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

So for me personally, I have no problems with banning ex-gay therapy for those under 18. Parents who have religious reasons for seeking ex-gay therapy for their children will still have plenty of options, and given the actual state of ex-gay therapy there is no reason to believe that those options would be any better or worse than those provided by so-called “experts.”

So what’s the point of this legislation then? It doesn’t really prevent anyone from getting “ex-gay” therapy.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Mark said “I think it is a form of child abuse to tell children that gay relationships are sinful. Should we send parents/teachers/clergy who do that to prison?”.

Once again, that is not what is being discussed here, what F Young was referring to is “exgay” “therapy” which all the major mental and physical health organizations agree is ineffective, aimed at treating something that is not a disease and potentially harmful.

Mark said “So what’s the point of this legislation then? It doesn’t really prevent anyone from getting “ex-gay” therapy.”.

It prevents people under 18 getting it from licensed therapists and anyone over 18 getting it from licensed therapists under the belief that it is effective, harmless, and that gayness is an illness that should be treated. If the state allows religious psychologists to put the states seal of approval on this snake oil more people will mistakenly think its valid and a good idea and choose to harm themselves with it.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Mark if this law didn’t have the effect of discouraging this type of “therapy” Narth wouldn’t be freaking out over it.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

What effect does this have?

The same effect that putting warning labels on a box of cigarettes has:

It counters the message that this form of therapy has validity, it can help counter the messages of pathology and efficacy. It takes away at least 1 if not 2 of the three “lethal items” I mentioned above. It’s a collective way of saying:

“reparative therapy is not normal, it’s not respected, and it’s not sanctioned – it’s harmful, and you should at least think twice before listening to those folks who are telling you how necessary it is for you or your child”.

Folks don’t realize that a lot of parents are very torn about what to do with their children in these cases. Having a voice coming from professionals and authority figures that is counter to the “reparative” wardrums can help provide parents with enough of an external warning voice to allow themselves to hear that part of their inner minds that is saying “but this smells like torture, and I don’t really want to do this… it’s just that the minister says we have to”.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Jim said “What is not clear is what you do in a case where a teen is not coerced and freely wants this form of therapy. The obvious problem would be how you would determine that the teen is free from coercion….if such a determination could be made without creating a loophole big enough for just anyone to slide in, I think a not-so-complete ban for those under 18 would be appropriate.”.

I think you’d agree that if Kirk Murphy had been asked at 4 years old if he wanted this “therapy” and was free from coercion you’d reject his answer if he had said “Yes”. As with a whole vast array of things we say children cannot do them until they reach at least 18 because we do not believe they have the knowledge and experience to give informed consent and be free from coercion from their parents. Now we all know that some may be more mature at 17 than others are at 21 but as a practical matter the law must set the limit somewhere and as it is with drinking, voting, joining the army, transgender therapy and a whole host of other things it is appropriate to say with “exgay” “therapy” no one has the knowledge, experience and freedom from coercion to be able to give informed consent to this until they are 18.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Well said, Andrew.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Mark – I disagree with your premise.

It’s not abuse to tell someone that a group of people are ‘bad’. It’s just ignorant. We allow ignorant comments in this society. Hell, we protect and applaud them because it demostrates the sanctity of the 1st Amendment.

Casually relating intensive personality-altering brainwashing and making an off-comment is just bad argument.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

It was my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) that children under the age of 18 legally cannot offer consent to sign contracts or agree to medical procedures. You know, because they’re like, children. Details!

F Young
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

@Mark F
“I think it is a form of child abuse to tell children that gay relationships are sinful. Should we send parents/teachers/clergy who do that to prison? Why not?”

Just saying it’s a sin would not be enough in most cases, and I never proposed imprisonment for this type of spiritual and emotional abuse, but I think it is child abuse when LGBT minors are demonized, damned and demeaned for what they are (and told their only hope is to change).

When it reaches that point, it would certainly be just cause for discipline if a teacher told that to a LGBT student.

I think it is also child abuse when it is done by their parents. The fact that it is common and socially accepted does not change the fact that it is abusive. I think that it is legitimate, for example, that some agencies will not place LGBT kids with adoptive and foster parents who condemn homosexuality.

I think the same standards apply to clergy, except in those cases where the victim voluntarily chooses the religion, which generally is not the case for minors.

I think a lot of LGBT kids would consider their upbringing by homophobic parents, teachers and religious leaders to be abusive. Just because one is a parent, teacher or clergy does not give one the right to harm the children under one’s care.

Jim Burroway
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

I think you’d agree that if Kirk Murphy had been asked at 4 years old if he wanted this “therapy” and was free from coercion you’d reject his answer if he had said “Yes”.

Of course, because a four-year-old can’t give informed consent.

It was my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) that children under the age of 18 legally cannot offer consent to sign contracts or agree to medical procedures. You know, because they’re like, children. Details!

I don’t know. Is 18 ironclad and without exception in all cases? Driver’s licenses, for example?

Timothy (TRiG)
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Samiimas,

It’s a quack treatment that’s shown no signs of actually working. The fact that the thing they’re treating is homosexuality is irrelevant. If they were peddling a cure for depression that every credible mental health organization had called a load of crap I’d support banning that for people under 18 to. Peddle your snake oil, but not to children.

Exactly. Caveat emptor will take you only so far in a complex society. There is a role for regulatory bodies in screening out snake oil. In fact, the book I’m currently reading is on that subject (Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All, by Rose Shapiro). Quacks can do a lot of harm, and should be regulated. Simple as.

Timothy Kincaid’s position seems to be almost libertarian: everyone should make their own decisions. And presumably everyone should hire their own consultants to help them. No. Medicine is a complex field, and needs regulation and enforcement.

TRiG.

Priya Lynn
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

I said “I think you’d agree that if Kirk Murphy had been asked at 4 years old if he wanted this “therapy” and was free from coercion you’d reject his answer if he had said “Yes”.”.

Jim said “Of course, because a four-year-old can’t give informed consent.”.

And in most cases neither can someone under 18. You mention driver’s licenses as an exception which is the only one I can think of. My point was we agree that 4 or 6 or 8 is too young to give informed consent. As there is no test to determine ability to give informed consent we use age as a guideline. If you think someone under the age of 18 can give informed consent to “exgay” “therapy” where would you draw the line?

As I noted with the vast majority of things the law draws it at 18. We don’t allow transgender kids to take desired hormones or have sex reassingment surgery until 18, why should we make an exception for “exgay” “therapy”? There is no secular reason one would do so, the only reason to do so is religious and that privileges religious people above non-religious people, that’s an injustice. Why should religious people get special rights?

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

For you to presume that I support this measure because, somehow only or most religious people are affected (even though I bent over backwards to pointed out that religious-based “therapy” most certianly is not affected) with, to be frank with you now, is deeply offensive. You have no cause whatsoever for doing that. That you do speaks more about you than me.

Considering that you accused me of “screaming on about Religious Freedom” you don’t have much room to claim offense.

And that this was the obsession of your comment, it was reasonable to assume that it was the focus of your objection. And as to your comment about ‘religious-based “therapy”’, the reason you have to put it in quotes is because that is the only way your claim is true: if it is not therapy at all.

While part of the comment was directly in response to you, part was more generally directed to the gazillion others who will interject on your behalf. So as to eliminate the personal from the discussion, I’ve written my own commentary.

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

liquid

I know nothing about “ultrasound guidance for non-emergent central line placement”.

However, I am fairly certain that there is not a segment of the population for whom this is a moral decision and for whom all other forms of treatment are unacceptable. If, however, that is the case, I would suggest that the more dangerous treatment is preferable to no treatment.

Although there are certainly those who say that the religious or ideological objections of others are of no concern and that laws should be passed which endorse my view and prohibit all others. You will not find me among them on this or any other bill. Even if it impacts ultrasound guidance for non-emergent central line placement, whatever the hell that may be.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Tim: let me be clear – ex-gay “therapy” isn’t “therapy” – it’s a political movement.

Andrew
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

However, I am fairly certain that there is not a segment of the population for whom this is a moral decision and for whom all other forms of treatment are unacceptable.

Not long ago, you could have said the same of gays who committed suicide after the humiliation of being outted.

And yes, you DON’T know anything about “ultrasound for non-emergent central line placement”. Because you’re not qualified or trained. Because you would cause more harm if you attempted the procedure than could ever be offset by the remote possibility of your untrained success.

You know, like some unqualified, untrained person mucking about in the brain of a child using techniques debunked by the rest of your profession as “harmful”.

That’s kind of the point.

Palmer
April 27th, 2012 | LINK

And I thought Republican infighting was funny.

liquid
April 27th, 2012 | LINK

It may not exactly be a moral decision, but it’s close. I used ultrasound guidance because the primary argument of those opposed to it is “that’s not how i’ve always done it, and i’m a doctor dammit, don’t tell me how to do m job!” The congruence seemed apparent-a regulation to prevent professionals from causing undue harm in their patients because of their “preferential beliefs”.

Priya Lynn
April 27th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “And as to your comment about ‘religious-based “therapy”’, the reason you have to put it in quotes is because that is the only way your claim is true: if it is not therapy at all.”.

It’s not therapy at all – all major mental and physical health organizations have stated that and any unbiased rational intelligent person can see that as well.

Regan DuCasse
April 27th, 2012 | LINK

How about this? Those parents who refused to listen to sound medical or psychiatric advice, and instead relied on ‘faith healing’ so to speak, and their child incurred serious harm, were subject to criminal action. Depending on what harm was caused.
Parents have just as much of an obligation NOT to harm their children as medical and psychiatric professionals do.

The onus here, is on the parents, if not the ‘spiritual’ advisor as long as said parents ARE informed that such faith healing has the potential of the opposite effect.

I think it’s just as fair to put out such warnings, they are extremely important. And NOT just a matter of OPINION, but sound professional expertise.

I can only think of one case of where when a mother went to her Mormon pastor about what to do with her 14 year old son being gay, he flipped her mother bear switch.
Rather than have her son, who SHE knew was sweet, funny, talented and especially very funny, and crazy about his family…she wasn’t about to let a minister tell her that her son was an evil agent of the devil and doomed to contract AIDS.
That her son was already lost to the wiles of the Dark One and she should consider putting him a Mormon based, conversion institution.
Which is what the minister told her MUST be done.

They aren’t so fire and brimstone these days. But it’s not like the agenda isn’t the same.

I think serious warnings for parents and others is warranted. Definitely.
And showing what the tragic outcomes have been when forcing young people to bend to the will of such things.

Ian
April 28th, 2012 | LINK

Here are some of the things that are not banned and they are harmful:
1.Religion – do i need an example?
2.Tobacco
3.Guns – why not use tasers/tranquilizers?

I would have agreed to allowing SOCE to take place as ‘religious counseling session’ if the family were shown videos of the harms that could be done, just like what one would have to go through when getting an abortion.

Andrew
April 28th, 2012 | LINK

Palmer, you’ve never seen “funny” until you’ve seen a comparatively small, historically oppressed community go at it. At least we don’t apply standards of “proof of membership” in our community. Can you imagine the horror of that picture gallery?

Donny D.
May 1st, 2012 | LINK

Andrew wrote,

At least we don’t apply standards of “proof of membership” in our community.

Well actually, yeah, we do. Too many lesbians and gay men do this to bisexual people. And too many LGB people question whether transgender/transexual people really belong in the same community with (cisgender) LGBs.

And for at least the last 20 years, left of center LGBT people too often have wielded a political purity test against conservative LGBT people as well as libertarian ones.

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