Hope and Change? Not for Gays
Blake Smith, 58, of Bakersfield, California, is an ex-gay. In a New York Times article in late 2012, he said that for most of his life, "every inch of my body craved male sexual contact."
However, after Smith entered into reparative counseling, including weekend retreats called "People Can Change" and "Journey into Manhood," he said his "homosexual feelings have nearly vanished." At that point, married for eight years, he said, "In my 50s, for the first time, I can look at a woman and say, 'She's really hot!'"
The internet is replete with testimonials like Smith's, at websites such as NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), PeopleCanChange, Liberty Counseling and Recovery, and JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality). As to the last-mentioned, followers of American Thinker read here last week that tiny JONAH is being sued by a big, fat, rich whale, the Southern Poverty Law Center, for "consumer fraud."
The bullies at the Southern Poverty Law Center are merely reflecting the standard liberal trope: Murderers, rapists, and other criminals are formed by society and can be helped by psychiatric treatment, but gay men and women are born as homosexuals and are therefore expected to live their lives as homosexuals, whether they like it or not.
This cruel philosophy is reflected in the California state law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012, which forbids counselors and therapists from addressing unwanted same-sex attraction. Last summer, Governor Chris Christie saw fit to imitate California, making New Jersey the second state with such a law, prohibiting therapists from assisting minors with "sexual orientation change efforts."
And just last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to re-hear a challenge to the California law, thus denying therapists their First Amendment freedom to speak about healing painful unwanted same-sex attraction. One of the dissenting judges said, "The Supreme Court has chastened us lower courts for creating, out of whole cloth, new categories of speech to which the First Amendment does not apply. But that is exactly what the panel's opinion accomplishes in this case."
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, one of the petitioners, said, "The minors we represent 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."
"Legislators and judges," he continued, "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 that they should pursue their unwanted and dangerous same-sex attractions and behavior."
Therapists in New Jersey have also challenged the New Jersey law. A federal district court having upheld the law, the challengers have appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. They are joined by two interested parties:
Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish advocacy organization, and Nefesh, an international association of Orthodox Jewish mental health,, have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief, arguing that the law violates the constitutional free speech rights of both therapists and minors seeking counseling.
The brief notes that while New Jersey finds it perfectly acceptable for minors over 14 years of age to check themselves into and out of psychiatric hospitals where they can be given powerful psychotropic medications, the state deems them incapable of deciding to seek the help of a licensed therapist to reduce or eliminate unwanted sexual orientation, behavior, or identity. New Jersey has effectively decreed that the decision to seek help of that nature is per se harmful to that minor, despite substantial evidence to the contrary.
One can only wish them luck in this Sisyphian task. With state legislatures, the media, schools and colleges, and to a growing extent, churches and synagogues all happily accepting, and often furthering, the rainbow agenda, this will be a hard one to win -- hard for the litigants and hard for the young people trapped in an unwanted lifestyle.