August 30, 2012
California Legislature Seeks to Ban Change Therapy and Intrude on Rights of Parents
Sacramento, CA - Late yesterday, the California legislature passed a bill that prohibits minors from receiving change therapy counseling regarding same-sex attractions. The bill, now headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, bans any counseling or therapy that seeks to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction or guide children away from gender confusion.
"If the bill is signed into law, Liberty Counsel will sue on behalf of counselors, parents, and minors who provide, refer, or who receive and have found change therapy to be beneficial," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.
The bill defines "sexual orientation change efforts" as any practice that is designed to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction. Such broad language will prohibit any counseling that does not affirm and encourage experimentation with or acceptance of same-sex attractions, regardless of whether those feelings and attractions are unwanted by the counselee. The bill not only prohibits this type of treatment, but it makes it an ethical violation for any counselor or therapist to engage in it.?
"If the governor signs this law, mental health professionals will find themselves in a catch-22," Staver said. Therapists have an ethical obligation to help clients deal with conflict. If a counselee is experiencing conflict between religious beliefs and same-sex attractions and wants to prioritize these beliefs over such attractions, the counselor is ethically obligated to directly help the client or refer for help. Under this bill, the counselor will be forced to disregard the client’s religious beliefs or change them. This bill will harm minors, undermine parental rights, and interfere with the rights of counselors. This bill and the ethical codes of all of the licensing boards in California are on an inevitable collision course," said Staver. "The licenses of countless mental health professionals hang in the balance."?
"The implications of the government determining what counseling treatments are acceptable should concern every counselor and citizen," said Staver. "That decision should be left to the patient, the parents, and the doctors. The government has no place in that conversation," Staver concluded.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
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