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Oregon becomes third state to ban reparative therapy; Illinois considering a similar ban

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

SALEM, OR, May 22, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Oregon has become the third state to ban therapy to help minors struggling with unwanted homosexual feelings or gender confusion.

The newly passed legislation makes it illegal in the state of Oregon for counselors to assist minors who want to understand and reduce their feelings of same-sex attraction or confusion regarding their sexual identity. The ban on such counseling, which is termed "reparative therapy" but often belittled as “conversion therapy,”

The ban went into effect on Monday upon being signed by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, an openly practicing bisexual.

Oregon now joins the states of California and New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in prohibiting licensed therapists from counseling minors away from practicing sodomy.

California first banned reparative therapy for minors in 2012. New Jersey followed suit in 2013 –a ban signed by Republican governor and potential GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie.

When California's ban was criticized as taking away parental choices for their children, its author, then-state senator Ted Lieu, admitted, "The attack on parental rights is exactly the whole point of the bill."

Significantly, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear challenges to either the California or New Jersey laws.

Now there is a nationwide effort to ban reparative therapy. When Joshua Alcorn, the Ohio high school boy who dressed as a girl, committed suicide, President Barack Obama called for a nationwide ban on any reparative counseling for minors that attempts to address homosexuality from a healing perspective.

The author of the California state ban is now a U.S. Congressman. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA, has introduced a bill in Congress that would classify all reparative therapy, for minors and adults — and claims that changing one’s sexual orientation is possible — as "fraud."

Rep. Lieu's bill would instruct the Federal Trade Commission to classify as "fraud" any attempt to counsel or advertise counseling aimed at reducing homosexual attraction or feelings of gender confusion.

"Love doesn't need a cure," Lieu said, referring to homosexual practices as "love."

Lieu's federal legislation would create enforcement through civil suits and federal action against "false advertising."

It would also grant congressional recognition that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender "cannot be and does not need to be ‘cured,'" he said. Several Democrats support the national legislation, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.

The Interfaith Alliance, a Religious Left organization that represents 75 "faith communities," issued a supportive statement that banning such counseling "goes to great lengths to protect the First Amendment," and that such theraputic censorship "safeguard(s) the rights of religious communities."

Dr. Christopher Doyle, a licensed therapist who supports reparative therapy, called the ban an attempt to “shut down debate” and “shut down any client choice.”

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi defended reparative therapy as the free choice of those who are internally conflicted. "Many individuals say they are happy identifying as gay, and we do not oppose their right to...live as they wish. However, some...come to us with their own, self-defined problems in living -- [to those clients] we offer our help,” he said. “The client sets the goals."

Dr. Nicolosi disagreed with banning reparative therapy, because "'sexually questioning' teens must have the chance to investigate all of their options -- not just be encouraged by counselors into adopting a gay identity and living a gay lifestyle."

"Reparative therapy never involves coercion," Dr. Nicolosi explained. "Rather, the therapist invites [the client] into a non-judgmental inquiry into his deeper motivations."

If the client does not know what he or she wants, Dr. Nicolosi says, "we agree not to work on his homosexuality."

Nevertheless, reparative therapy for minors is characterized by gay activists as "child abuse." James Parrish, Equality Virginia’s executive director, says, "Banning conversion therapy is not an issue of free speech; this is about protecting, supporting, and affirming gay and transgender youth."

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade, "You can’t change somebody’s gender identity; you can’t change somebody’s sexual orientation."

Countless "ex-gays" wish to differ. Many were on hand at a Texas rally, where their testimonies of coming out of the gay lifestyle influenced the defeat of a similar ban.

Illinois is on the verge of becoming the next state to follow Oregon's ban.

The Illinois state House has passed a ban, and the legislation is now going to the Illinois Senate. "This is an unmitigated disaster for children and families,” said David E. Smith of the Illinois Family Institute. “It is a shame that not one conservative lawmaker challenged this proposal during floor debate."

Smith associates such bans with gay tyranny. "Not one lawmaker defended children and free speech from the tyranny of leftists who demand we act, speak, and think according to the dictates of their beliefs," he complained. "Not one lawmaker reminded their colleagues that by diminishing the right to live out our faith, they are establishing the religion of secularism which the First Amendment decisively prohibits."

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The ban now moves to the Illinois Senate, the state's more liberal chamber.

Smith concluded, "Unless an outpouring of prayers, along with many visits and calls are made to senators' local district offices, this bill will likely become law."

Several states, including Illinois, Texas, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are considering bans.

Contact:
Anyone wishing to comment may contact Illinois state senators at http://www.ilga.gov/senate/default.asp or https://www.votervoice.net/ILFI/campaigns/35284/respond

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