California Judges Halt Law Ending Ex-Gay Therapy For Minors

NewsweekexgayA three-judge panel in California yesterday put an injunction on the law prohibiting use of ex-gay on minors. Though the judges did not give a reason for their ruling, representatives from both sides of the debate of course spoke out about the decision.

Lynda Gledhill from the California Attorney General’s office, which opposes ex-gay therapy for minors, vowed they will keep fighting those trying to “change” young gay Americans: “California was correct to outlaw this unsound and
harmful practice, and the attorney general will vigorously
defend this law.”

Meanwhile, on the right, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver said, “This law
is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of
counseling and would have caused irreparable harm.”

It’s worth noting here two things. One, all major medical organizations have warned that ex-gay therapy, called “Reparative therapy” by its proponents, has negative side-effects, including depression and suicide. And there are no known positive effects. “There has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective,” said the American Psychological Association.

Second fact worth pointing out: Mat Staver has a history of wildly outrageous comments about the impact of progress. Just the other day he claimed marriage equality would lead to another civil war, so perhaps his sense of proportion vis a vis overreach is a bit skewed.

Anyway, this injunction comes after another judge blocked the law, meant to go into effect on January 1, earlier this month. He claimed opponents did not have sufficient proof that “ex-gay therapy” was harmful.


  1. gunther says

    This is so political and not scientific. Those judges should be recalled. And you know the Catholic Church has always had this type of counseling service. They just do it through the back door. (oh dear what a metaphor).

    Anyway, the Church’s therapy comes from the pulpit like a blanket in the form of: “hate those sinners” (hate yourself). That causes depression, and suicides. Oh, but that’s not counseling, that’s doctrine.

    Petty judges.

  2. Houndentenor says

    Thanks for referencing the cover with the Paulks. She is still taking large speaking fees for proclaiming the “success” of their therapy while living apart from her husband who is again openly gay. Not only is the “therapy” a fraud, but the practitioners know it’s a fraud and are happy to lie to continue raking in the cash.

  3. SIR says

    This subject of homosexuality causes pain everywhere because we as a nation are so confused and hysterical about sex, and because as human beings we are so immature and fearful about the workings of the universe. Living then without easy confidence in “the flow”, the well-being of All That Is, we impede and stumble ourselves.

    Yet progress is made and will be because the tide can only be contained for a little while. A man’s love for another man, a woman’s for another woman is part of the flow for many people and always will be. We must simply manifest this truth with as calm and confident a joy as possiblegiving no quarter as we press forward with our freedoms for all.

    Safe houses for gay youth, telephone help lines for everyone and most of all loving personal contact with all those who are confused, pained and fearful will win the day as it does often, however unheralded, every day.

  4. Francis says

    Ex-gay quackery is on it’s deathbed anyway, but this decision doesn’t impact the final outcome, and that’s what’s most important. At the end of the day, the facts are clearly on our side and I fully expect ex-gay quackery to be banned in California.

  5. Sharp says

    Newsweek loves shocking covers. Remember Obama as a “The First Gay President” and the if Diana had lived cover–with a computer generated photo of her in the present day with Kate? This cover implies that straight is possible for Gays, just by the graphics. Remember, it’s only a magazine.

  6. Sharp says

    Speaking of Obama… Don’t ever have him give your eulogy. “President Barack Obama used the funeral for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye to talk about himself. In the short 1,600 word speech, Obama used the word “my” 21 times, “me” 12 times, and “I” 30 times.” Fox

  7. Caliban says

    We know from anecdotal evidence, the MANY people (men mostly) who have written about their experience with this kind of “therapy” that it does cause depression and suicidal ideation (and suicide). If there has never been a formal study of it, one needs to be done.

    But the proponents of “ex-gay” and “reparative” therapy could STILL do an end-run around the law by finally admitting what we already know, that it’s actually a RELIGIOUS practice, not a psychological/therapeutic one. Those “therapists” who practice “gay cures” (such as Marcus Bachmann) believe they can/should try to change the sexuality of gays due to their religious beliefs.

    But even that would be a step in the right direction. At least then it would be upfront that that it isn’t a valid psychiatric practice but motivated entirely by religious standards and beliefs.

  8. anon says

    I think the confusion here is that this is not a “medical” procedure, and so can’t be regulated by medical boards or state law. This is “counseling”, a profession form of advice giving. If this could be regulated then so could P-Flag or gay support groups. They could be banned in states that are anti-gay.

    Preventing the law from going into effect is a common procedure the courts take to maintain the status quo until the court can formally issue a ruling. It also commonly extends into the appeals process. Maintaining the status quo prevents the odd situation of the law whipsawing back and forth over time.

    The odd thing is how mute the ACLU has become over the years, particularly on gay issues.

  9. Garth says

    Deep down I think they believe that, of course, everyone loves women’s anatomy? How can you not? They’ve always craved it. Sorry fellas, I’ve always felt the same about men, boys, males… I’m proud to say I’m a virgin. I love women, but have no sexual feeling. I have to laugh sometime about the fixation with breasts — they do nothing for me. I know they are appreciated by gay women, and straight men. I’m 100% male lover, no conversion.

  10. Jordan says

    Having been on the receiving end of these ex gay programs, and as a 16 year old..I can tell you first hand, it’s complete torture. In the realest sense of the word. They are truly trying to kill your soul. We knew of one gay in the program at the same time I was in it that did in fact kill himself. You feel like you have NO one to turn to. And your parents threaten to kick you out if you don’t complete the entire conversion program which can often go for a year, sometimes two or three years. It is total child abuse, and IMO, all adult LGBT should be championing the end of this. And quick.

    It’s truly destorying the lives of thousands of LGBT youth.

    I got out by moving out of my parents home at 17 and moving to Austin with a close friend. I don’t know what would become of me if I have to endure it for another month.

  11. says

    “This law is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling…” Really? Then why do we have a Department of Health and Human Services if not to regulate medical practices? Ahhh… but then, again, the vast majority of your “counselors” are unlicensed quacks, with a few dis-barred people who’ve had their license stripped from them for malpractice thrown in to provide a fraudulent patina of legitimacy. So what difference does it make for your crack-pot organization? You don’t comply with existing laws, so why should you comply with this one?

  12. Diogenes Arktos says

    Sorry, Anon, therapy is a generally considered medical procedure. There are clear professional standards for psychiatrists and psychologists. Without doubt the psychiatrists as MDs are medial professionals. The discussion here is whether other groups are required to follow medical (=scientific) standards. This is part of the issue about the student in Michigan who could not in religious conscience properly follow professional standards.

  13. says

    @Anon, the ACLU is hardly mute on gay issues. Ever heard of the Windsor case, now before the Supreme Court? (Among many others…) And Ex-Gay therapy is not comparable to a support group like P-Flag (unless you’re a Liberty Counsel wingnut)–there’s a reason why all reputable medical associations warn against one but not the other.

  14. andrew says

    I am an old man now but I have known that I was “gay”, although the term was never used in the 1940s & 50’s , since I was about 9 years old. Throughout my teens and twenties i tried everything to be straight. Nothing worked. I finally realized, in my early thirties, that being gay was my nature. It was what I am. I am a total Kinsey 6. Even though, I don’t meet any of the stereotypes. I can’t dance, draw, sing, act or pick out the proper colors for your clothing or apartments etc etc. But I have always been sexually attracted to men, hopefully gay men.

  15. Diogenes Arktos says

    The case usually raised by the plaintiffs is what to do with unwanted same-sex attractions that resulted from child rape. It seems bizarre to me that their top therapeutic issue is to resolve the same-sex issues and not the rape issues. If the former were caused by the latter – taking care of the latter should take care of the former. Besides, if they are so insistent on following clients’ desires, they should assist any requests for suicide.

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