A federal judge has blocked enforcement of California’s “gay” conversion bill saying the bill violates the First Amendment by lacking “content and viewpoint neutrality.”
The bill, SB 1172 would ban any attempt at “conversion therapy” on minors that would attempt to change their sexual orientation. Moreover, the bill states that licensed counselors can only speak about a person’s sexual orientation or behavior associated with that orientation in a positive, affirming way.
Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the bill on behalf of several parents and their children who were receiving and benefiting from such counseling; several licensed counselors who provide such counsel; the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH); and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), an organization with about 50,000 professional counseling members.
“The minors we represent have not and do not want to act on their same-sex attractions. They are greatly benefiting from counseling,” Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver said. “On January 1, the state of California will essentially barge into the room of each counseling session to tell the counselor what they may present, and clients what they may receive, only one viewpoint on same-sex attraction. This is outrageous and offensive.”
“This law is politically motivated to interfere with counselors and clients. 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 would be banned,” Staver said.
Although supporters and critics of the bill say it bans, same-sex conversion therapy, it actually goes farther than that.
The law bans any attempt to challenge a person’s sexual orientation saying, “’Sexual orientation change efforts’ meansany practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
However, the term sexual orientation is not defined in the legislation. This effectively means the ban would apply to any and all sexual orientations including pedophilia.
“If someone were to say their sexual orientation is towards young children and a licensed mental health practitioner were to counsel against those tendencies as opposed to affirming the behavior it is problematic and could result in an ethical code violation by the counselor,” Staver said. “This is an issue that is clearly lurking in this statute.”
The Gazette has previously reported on attempts by mental health professionals to have pedophilia listed as a sexual orientation similar to homosexuality.
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.
B4U-Act calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”
In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.”
Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.
Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law.
“This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”
The White House praised the bill saying, “At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another – whether we embrace our differences rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.”
Earlier this year two psychologists in Canada declared that pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality or heterosexuality.
Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.”
He went on to say, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”
When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied, “If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”
Dr. Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, agreed with Van Gijseghem. Quinsey said pedophiles’ sexual interests prefer children and, “There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or through anything else.”
In July, 2010 Harvard health Publications said, “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.”
While SB 1172 does not legalize pedophilia, it could cause problems since court mandated counseling for pedophiles is often a requirement for parole. With the law only allowing a positive affirmation of a person’s sexual orientation and prohibiting any attempt to change the behavior, this could mean counselors could no longer attempt to counsel pedophiles to suppress their ureges.
“The courts could very well find themselves constrained to apply it pedophilia conduct as well as homosexual conduct,” Staver said.