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(LifeSiteNews) — The claim that so-called “conversion therapy” is a major cause of “gay suicide” is false. Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) “actually reduce gay suicide” according to new research conducted by Fr. Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute.

A major study by Blosnich, et al., which has provided the basis for the long-held politically charged notion that counseling efforts to help individuals who experience unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) are harmful, has been shown by Sullins to be based on an incorrect interpretation of the data.

Sullins found that conclusions reached in the oft-cited Blosnich Study were not simply mistakes: “They are emphatically the opposite of truth. I don’t want to say that their study was fraudulent, but it purposely ignored scientific standards of evidence to point to causation with regard to SOCE harm.”

Sullins challenged the widely cited study purporting to show that SOCE therapy to reduce same-sex attraction increases suicide risk. His re-analysis of the study’s data showed that this conclusion was flawed because it had included suicidal ideation and attempts made before the therapy occurred.

In other words, researchers counted participants as having experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts as a result of SOCE, even if their flirtation with suicide occurred before entering counseling to change.

When Sullins corrected this error, the claim that therapy caused suicidal tendencies evaporated and, in fact, the evidence suggested that therapy actually reduced suicide risk.

He explained:

What happens if you take a body of experiences and you just associated with someone’s going to SOCE and you say, well, they have over twice the risk of lifetime suicide ideation — not telling us that two thirds of that lifetime suicidal ideation that you’re talking about happened before they went to SOCE?

And so they made the fundamental error of attributing an effect to a cause that occurred after the effect, something that is logically impossible.

Sullins also went back and looked at other recent studies and found that they too had made the “exact same mistake” by declining to “separate out SOCE before and after.”

The Blosnich Study, like many other investigative studies conducted over the last couple of decades that have led to overwhelming negative attitudes toward SOCE, drew its data exclusively from LGBT-identifying populations. In fact, “gay” or “lesbian” identity is among the inclusion criteria for such studies and anyone with same-sex attraction who does not identify as LGBT was ignored.

As such, “the very people most likely to report being helped by therapy are systematically excluded from the analysis of whether therapy is helpful,” according to a Ruth Institute report.

Because they have, by definition, been excluded from these LGBT studies, their experiences are not represented in the bulk of research, leading to skewed, unfounded conclusions and disastrous, ill-advised legislative and judicial outcomes. And yet, the number of same-sex attracted men and women who identify as ex-LGBT is significant.

SOCE unfairly villainized to the detriment of society and many same-sex attracted individuals

Branded with the pejorative label “conversion therapy,” SOCE have been villainized by special interest groups seeking to bolster the idea that homosexuality is an immutable trait in order to substantiate sweeping changes in laws that have served to erode humanity’s understanding of marriage; allowed a barrage of attacks undermining religious liberty; killed the operation of many Christian social programs, especially adoption and foster care organizations; and justified the purposeful denial of fathers and mothers to a generation of children being raised in same-sex households.

LGBT political power is founded upon the notion that same-sex attraction is an immutable trait, therefore deserving of an array of constitutional protections.

Yet even the American Psychological Association (APA) admits:

There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute that sponsored Sullins’ research, has stated that banning “conversion therapy” is cruel. She explained:

People who experience same sex attraction are more likely to have experienced sexual and other forms of abuse, according to one study, nearly twice as likely. These experiences may be related in complex ways to their current feelings and behaviors. Broad-brush bans on talk therapy relating to sexual orientation will have a chilling effect on the therapeutic community, making therapists less willing to discuss these difficult but crucial connections. Thus, the people who most need therapeutic assistance will be hobbled in their attempts to discuss anything that may be even remotely connected to same sex attraction.

Sullins’ re-analysis of the data comes at a critical moment.

This week began with LGBT groups applauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow a Washington state law banning ‘conversion therapy’ for homosexuals to go unchallenged.

“Every major medical and mental health association in the country has warned that conversion therapy is unnecessary, ineffective, and harmful,” Shannon Minter declared in a statement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“In one study, more than 60 percent of youth subjected to conversion therapy attempted suicide,” Minter said. “That is why nearly half the states in this country have enacted laws to protect youth and their families from these serious harms.”

Sullins’ research challenges Minter’s assertions, calling into question the rationale for continued bans on SOCE.