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Gay Conversion Therapy – Should the Practice be Banned in New Jersey? [POLL]

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Seeing is how today (10/11/12) is National Coming Out day, I thought this bore re-posting in light of that.

Sounds ludicrous to think that one can be converted into being a heterosexual from being gay; as though you were converting someone from one religion to another but there are plenty of those practitioners out there.

Just ask Congresswoman Michelle Bachman.

Recently Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law the banning of the practice to anyone under the age of 18 saying that the “therapy” has no basis in science or medicine and that it will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.

While I agree with the assessment of the therapy…overall, I disagree with the ban.

Shouldn’t it be within the rights of a parent to choose the “therapy” they feel best suited for their child if the parents aren’t comfortable with their child’s values or sexual orientation?

Again, maybe it’s the parents that need some kind of therapy…but still, I feel at a personal matter, it’s up to the parents to make the choice to pursue this…and not the state.

The ban apparently has garnered the attention of a New Jersey Legislator, because, according to this:

New Jersey could become the second state in the nation to limit practitioners of “conversion” counseling, a controversial form of psychological therapy that aims to persuade gay people to adopt a heterosexual identity.

Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace (D., Bergen), an openly gay father of two, plans to introduce a bill next week that would outlaw use of the technique on those under 18 years old.

“I see it as a form of child abuse,” he said. Being gay “is not an illness, so what are they fixing?”

“Conversion” or “reparative” therapy has been discredited by all major mental health organizations, according to the American Psychological Association. Since parents may force their children to undergo the therapy, the state should protect them, Eustace said.

The bills will face stiff resistance from the New Jersey Family Policy Council, a group that opposes gay marriage. Government should not interfere with parental decisions, said the group’s founder and president, Len Deo.

“The American Psychological Association has been very ‘progressive’ in their viewpoints. I would say there are thousands who have utilized this therapy that have left the gay lifestyle,” he said.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union), who, with Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), plans to introduce a similar measure in the Senate, said conversion therapy “exploits young boys and girls who happen to be gay.”

“Parents don’t have the right to endanger their children by participating in a practice that has no basis in science whatsoever,” Sweeney said.

No one should be denied the right to pursue the counseling he or she wants, said Greg Quinlan, 54, a North Jersey resident who said he used to be attracted to men. Therapy, although not specifically “reparative” therapy, helped Quinlan overcome trauma from childhood sexual assault that he believes influenced his former sexual preference. He now leads a group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

“Parents have the right to guide their child,” said Quinlan, who would not reveal his hometown because, he said, he has received death threats.

About 70 therapists in 20 states, including two in North Jersey, advertise conversion therapy, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that aims to help curb the practice. Many are pastoral counselors.

Sam Wolfe, a center lawyer involved with civil rights issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, said therapy was “too dignified” a term for the counseling.

“One person we’ve been working with, his parents sent him to conversion therapy when he was 14,” Wolfe said. “They believed that they could help cure their child of being gay, but this was like psychological torture for the kid. . . . There’s also a lot of shame inflicted on clients.”

When the story first appeared about California banning the practice, I wondered how long it would take before we jumped on the bandwagon.

Not very long!

And according to this, the trend is catching on!

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, lawmakers in New York City are proposing to ban curative therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers.

Councilman Daniel Dromm is proposing the ban and calling on the American Psychological and American Psychiatric Associations to immediately declare the practice unethical.

Curative therapy, which is also known as reparative or conversion therapy, attempts to change, alter or correct a person’s sexual orientation.

“We are out here as proud LGBT people and our allies who we need in terms of moving forward the idea that gay is good,” Dromm said.

 

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