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Law banning therapy for 'unwanted attractions' challenged
Posted By Bob Unruh On 09/11/2013 @ 8:00 pm In Faith,Front Page,Health,Politics | No Comments
California’s ban on therapies that aim to treat minors who have unwanted same-sex attractions violates U.S. Supreme Court precedent protecting parental rights, argue attorneys seeking a rehearing of a federal appeals court hearing.
As WND reported, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Aug. 29 upheld California’s law, the first of its kind in the country, ruling it does not violate the free-speech rights of counselors or people seeking “change therapy.”
The ruling would prevent minors who want counseling regarding same-sex attractions, behavior or identity from getting help.
“Nor will licensed counselors be permitted to offer such counsel, despite the fact that their clients are currently benefiting from such counsel,” according to Liberty Counsel, which brought the case on behalf of minors who now are “significantly benefiting” from the counseling.
Now Liberty Counsel has filed a request for rehearing, arguing that the decision conflicts with precedent established by the 9th Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The petition cites precedents that reject “the statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority” and affirm that “the right to family association includes the right of parents to make important medical decisions for their children, and of children to have those decisions made by their parents rather than the state.”
Mathew Staver, chief counsel of Liberty Counsel, said the minors he represents “do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in such behavior.”
“They are greatly benefiting from this counseling. Their grades have gone up, their self-esteem has improved, and their relationships at home are much improved,” he said
Staver said legislators and judges in California “have essentially barged into the private therapy rooms of victimized young people and told them that their confusion, caused by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky abuser, is normal and they should pursue their unwanted and dangerous same-sex sexual attractions and behavior, regardless of whether those minors desire their religious beliefs to trump their unwanted attractions.”
The petition for rehearing notes that the circuit court judges had found that the California law banned treatment but not speech, which poses a conflict.
Licensed counselors who are not medical doctors can help their clients only through speech, the petition contends.
“Consequently, the ‘practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation’ that SB1172 prohibits are speech.”
The petition argues that since the modern understanding of psychotherapy, including sexual orientation change efforts, or SOCE, consists of speaking to clients, “prohibiting licensed mental health providers from engaging in SOCE necessarily prevents them from discussing the pros and cons of SOCE or otherwise expressing their views regarding SOCE to their patients.”
“The panel’s attempt to differentiate between medical ‘treatment’ and ‘speech’ in the context of SOCE is a false dichotomy,” the petition asserts.
The brief points out that the judges even admitted that “the record shows that plaintiffs who are licensed mental health providers practice SOCE only through talk therapy.’”
Further, the ban is nothing more than a viewpoint-targeting censorship, the petition contends.
“The legislature demonstrated that its concern was with protecting only one viewpoint – the viewpoint that [same-sex attractions] should be affirmed, even if they are unwanted. The findings and the language of SB1172 indisputably show that the legislature seeks to ban only one viewpoint – counseling aimed at reducing or eliminating SSA,” the petition says.
Late last year, Liberty Counsel obtained an injunction from the appeals court to block implementation of the law. But the 9th Circuit panel then decided that California “has authority to prohibit licensed mental health providers from administering therapies that the legislature has deemed harmful.”
Staver said the law “is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients.”
“The law is an astounding overreach by the state,” he said. “Under the law, counselors would be required to provide, and clients to receive, the viewpoint that same-sex attractions are normal and good. Any counsel to reduce or eliminate same-sex attractions is now banned in California.”
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, called the earlier decision a “dark day for those who believe in the First Amendment and the rights of parents over the proper upbringing of their children.”
“Make no mistake, we are not finished in our efforts to overturn this outrageous legislation,” he said.
California was the first state to approve such First Amendment limitations, and now New Jersey has followed, prompting WND columnist Matt Barber to express concern.
“The connection between homosexual abuse and ‘gay identity’ is undeniable. Consider this: Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that homosexual men are ‘at least three times more likely to report CSA (childhood sexual abuse)’ than heterosexual men,” he wrote. “Moreover, the Archives of Sexual Behavior – no bastion of conservatism – determined in a 2001 study that nearly half of all gay-identified men were molested by a homosexual pedophile: ’46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender’ noted the study.”
He said besides the fact the laws violate the Constitution, the underlying claim isn’t true.
“For instance, both New Jersey Democrats and [Gov. Chris] Christie cited the American Psychological Association, or APA, as justification for this gross infringement on the right of self-determination. Although, no doubt, the highly liberal APA supports this and similar Sandusky Laws for political reasons, the group’s own task force on change therapy – led entirely by members who themselves are ‘gay’-identified or known political activists – has had to admit, nonetheless, that homosexuality itself ‘refers to feelings and self-concept,’” he explained.
“Here’s the kicker: The APA also acknowledged that there is no evidence whatsoever that change therapy harms minors,” he continued.
It was last year when California lawmakers adopted a bill to ban medical and counseling professionals from engaging in “change therapy,” a practice utilized to reduce homosexual urges in those who don’t want them.
The law was adopted by majority Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.
S.B. 1172 is from a legislature that also demanded that school children “celebrate” the life of homosexual activist Harvey Milk.
The state’s lawmakers also recently adopted a requirement that schools allow students to have access to gender-specific facilities, such as locker rooms and rest rooms, according to their “gender identity.”
California has adopted numerous sexual indoctrination bills, including S.B. 48, which requires positive portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in public school social studies and history classes.
Others cited by SaveCalifornia.com include:
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