TRENTON, NJ, March 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – New Jersey is the latest state to legislatively attack the right of people with unwanted same-sex attraction to choose reparative therapy.
State lawmakers are debating a bill that would ban the therapy. It’s likely that the bill will pass the Democrat-controlled legislature, but it is unclear whether Republican Governor Chris Christie will sign it.
At first, the governor said he was “of two minds” on the issue, wanting to protect the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their own children, but at the same time wondering if reparative therapy might be an exception. But his spokesman came out last week with a statement that seemed to indicate the governor had made up his mind, at least on the issue of the value of reparative therapy.
“Governor Christie does not believe in conversion therapy,” spokesman Kevin Roberts told the New Jersey Star Ledger. “There is no mistaking his point of view on this when you look at his own prior statements where he makes clear that people’s sexual orientation is determined at birth.”
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But Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) and a lobbyist for the New Jersey Family Policy Council told LifeSiteNews.com he thought Mr. Roberts might have been taking some liberties, sharing his own opinion and not that of his boss.
“Mr. Christie has been very good at supporting family values to this point. He has vetoed the [same-sex] marriage bill, he’s stopped Planned Parenthood funding, he’s been very big on educational choice and trying to rein in a state that is out of control.” Said Quinlan, “It sounds like the spokesman was speaking more for himself than he was for the governor.”
Quinlan expressed concern that the governor and some lawmakers may have been duped by the bill’s proponents into believing that reparative therapy is something it’s not.
“What Mr. Christie is probably unaware of is that Garden State Equality, the homosexual rights group that’s in state, paraded very emotional, anecdotal testimony that had no basis in fact,” Quinlan told LSN.
He cited the example of one man, now living as a woman, who shared a harrowing story of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at the hands of Christian reparative therapists at a camp in Ohio as a minor. The man claimed to have been forced to masturbate to heterosexual pornography, given IV treatments to induce vomiting, and had his hands connected to electrodes for hours at a time. He identified his abusers as the True Directions camp, run by an Assemblies of God church in Columbus, OH.
But Quinlan said that according to the Ohio Secretary of State, which keeps records on all camps, True Directions never existed. Instead, the man’s testimony seems to have its roots in a 1999 RuPaul film called “But I’m a Cheerleader!” in which a young girl struggling with same-sex attraction is sent to a fictional reparative therapy camp called True Directions. Two homosexual men at the camp incite the others to fight against their treatment, and in the end, not only the patients embrace their homosexuality, but her parents, as well.
When asked about True Directions, Dr. Elton Moose, a licensed counselor in Columbus, told WorldNetDaily, “I have been in this business for 24 years and have not heard of this camp. … These types of shock-therapy accusations have been around for many years, but I have not actually known a practice that has used this therapy.”
Quinlan said the man’s testimony was “an outright lie.” He also criticized others testifying on behalf of the ban for appealing to emotion, not facts.
Quinlan said that as an ex-gay himself, he thinks Christie’s spokesman’s assertion that sexual preference is innate from birth and unchangeable is seriously flawed. “There’s no evidence [for that],” he told LSN. “Let me quote the American Psychological Association: ‘There are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality.’”
Said Quinlan, “There is zero evidence, genetic or biological, that anyone is born a homosexual. However, there is vast sociological, psychological evidence that goes back a hundred years that show that homosexuality is an acquired condition that can be treated.”
Whether such treatment will continue to be available in New Jersey remains to be seen. Even if Governor Christie signs the bill, it is likely there will be legal action seeking to overturn it. After California passed a similar law last year, a federal court temporarily blocked enforcement after a number of therapists sued, claiming the ban would violate their First Amendment rights.
In the meantime, in the face of legislation looking to criminalize reparative therapy, and repeated death threats from homosexual activists, some practitioners have taken their practices underground, according to Quinlan. He said those looking for help to overcome same-sex attraction can contact the Restored Hope Network to receive assistance.