New Jersey bans gay conversion therapy

0

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie on Monday signed into law a measure to prevent therapists from counseling gay and lesbian youths to change their sexual orientation, making his the second U.S. state to ban so-called conversion therapy.


Citing medical and psychiatric research that sexual orientation is determined at birth, the law bans state-licensed counselors, therapists and social workers from practicing a method of talk therapy that opponents have said is deeply damaging to the self-esteem and identity of gay youths.

Christie said he was signing the legislation based on research that found "efforts to change sexual orientation can pose critical health risks, including, but not limited to, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, decreased self-esteem and suicidal thoughts."

But he said he still had "concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children."

Written By: Victoria Cavaliere
continue to source article at reuters.com

NO COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

    Anyway the whole concept of making gay people straight , is absurd. The pain and suffering of denying an integral part of your life surely would be a precursor to general un-wellness. Where’s the dignity in living a sham. This is an example of religion doing great harm , where someone is compelled to live in shame and guilt , IMO an undignified existence , in the hope that it will satisfy a god of some kind. It seems like a waist of a life.

    • In reply to #2 by Pauly01:

      I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

      He mentions this himself, stating he has “concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children.” But surely you would agree that even in a free country, especially in a free country, restrictions have to be placed in order to ensure everybody gets to enjoy his freedoms, and not one group at the cost of another. IMO this ban rightfully protects the right of minors to reach sexual maturity in a healthy way and not be forced/coerced/intimidated into a state that one particular group wishes to see them in at the cost of health, happiness and sometimes even life.

      • Sjoerd,

        But it’s true of many religious and dogmatic practices. Criticisms have being levelled before e.g Richard Dawkin’s comments on religious indoctrination being tantamount to a form of child abuse. Are we seriously suggesting that we ban religion? What kind of government would that be? Maybe some would say a secularist one , but I would disagree.

        In reply to #4 by Sjoerd Westenborg:

        In reply to #2 by Pauly01:

        I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

        He mentions this himself, stating he has “concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children.” But surely you would agree that eve…

        • In reply to #5 by Pauly01:

          Sjoerd,

          But it’s true of many religious and dogmatic practices. Criticisms have being levelled before e.g Richard Dawkin’s comments on religious indoctrination being tantamount to a form of child abuse. Are we seriously suggesting that we ban religion? What kind of government would that be? Maybe s…

          The handwringing that has become a staple in the comments on RDFRS is rearing its ugly head again.

          If therapy is considered the delivery of healthcare services, in this case mental health, then you are subject to the strictures that the practice of this discipline imposes upon you. These strictures are based on best practice which in turn is derived from evidence. The evidence has unequivocally shown that “therapies” intended to change sexual orientation are junk science and cause harm to the “patients”. Moreover, it is based on the supposition that homosexuality is a diseased state requiring a cure. This has been roundly rejected by the WHO and all leading psychological and psychiatric associations in the world, yes, gasp, even by those in the US.

          In short, the “therapists” are guilty of malpractice. It is a grotesque scandal that New Jersey is only the second state after California to have banned this. This is another huge stain of shame on the reputation of the United States of America as supposed leading nation in the world, in the same order of magnitude as its educational catastrophe manifested in the fact that almost half of the US population denies the Theory of Evolution.

          • I see your point and I don’t have enough clarity in my mind of all the issues involved , from my perspective I am approaching this from an individual rights view point. Should a person be allowed to engage in a process that is largely unevidenced in its assumptions and where there is a wealth of evidence that says the process goals are unachievable and could be harmful to the individual. If I’m gay and want to straight do I have a right to try and achieve this?

            It’s a nightmare really , can associate retraining , (e.g pavlov etc (spelling)) , be considered unethical , can hormone treatment be considered unethical (is that even involved?). If someone says to a psycho therapist or Hypnotherapist that I wish to get an erection when seeing a hot woman instead of a hot man , is the science their to achieve this (Not knowing enough about this , but my gut instinct is that associative pairing processes could be employed to achieve this). So my point is that the process may not be as unethical as you think. All the above is a bit unstructured, I know , I supposed because I don’t have enough information to hand.

            But I do think if people have the money to challenge this in the courts , It seems that this decision is very challenge-able on so many grounds.

            I don’t agree with suppressing sexuality though , want to make that very clear :)

            In reply to #7 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #5 by Pauly01:

            Sjoerd,

            But it’s true of many religious and dogmatic practices. Criticisms have being levelled before e.g Richard Dawkin’s comments on religious indoctrination being tantamount to a form of child abuse. Are we seriously suggesting that we ban religion? What kind of gover…

    • In reply to #2 by Pauly01:

      I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

      The state licenses therapists, and they will not license therapy which causes harm, as is the case with gay-conversion therapy. So, if you use harmful methods, you will lose your license. Pretty straightforward, really. Similarly, the state licenses physicians, so you have to be a qualified doctor, not a quack. And gay-conversion “therapy” is the very definition of quackery.

      • In reply to #12 by McCourt:

        In reply to #2 by Pauly01:

        I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

        The state licenses therapists, and they will not license therapy which causes harm, as is the case with gay-conversion therapy. So, if you use harmful methods, you will lose your…

        Exactly. And its totally appropriate for the state to decide who has the right to practice various types of medicine and which therapies should be considered legitimate. That is a very different matter than the state mandating that people can’t talk about certain kinds of therapy or religious beliefs.

      • Al right I concede on that point no arguments.
        I think that the state should be responsible for vetting the practices of therapists that are accredited. This would take their sense of legitimacy and efficacy away, which is a good thing.

        But I would assume that there would be some kind of redefinition of the therapist tag , to stay within the law.

        Answer me this is you could , should we make illegal any counselling service that is appropriately advertised as not having accreditation and no longer use the word ”licensed therapist’ or any professional status that suggests a public body accreditation?

        In reply to #12 by McCourt:

        In reply to #2 by Pauly01:

        I don’t know on what basis he can do this , its a free world , and surely open to challenge.

        The state licenses therapists, and they will not license therapy which causes harm, as is the case with gay-conversion therapy. So, if you use harmful methods, you will lose your…

  2. He’s going for the moderate schtick. IMO, he’s likely to win the Republican presidential primary election modulo any disasters (marital infidelity, etc) on the way there. They’ll have a job getting the base to accept him, but they do say “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line”. I guess we’ll see how true that is. We may also see a very different side of him during that period, as with Romney.

    On the other hand, he could be planning to jump ship as Roedy says– the teabaggers have been after him since he sided with Obama on not letting people die in the aftermath of a disaster. If he’d not done that, they could have blamed Obama for their deaths.

  3. Surely the point is this. If someone says “Praise God,” then there is nothing that should be done, that’s their freedom.

    If someone says “evolution is untrue,” that also is fine, unless they try to advance this falsehood as part of a publicly funded or certificated course of education. They can teach whatever they like in a private bible college, provided that the qualification they issue has no legal value, and the college has no direct or indirect public funding.

    If someone alleges that homosexuality can be cured, vaccines, don’t work, prayer cures and medicine harms, and they influence others to think the same, then they are promoting untruths, which are likely to have serious consequences in terms of the health and happiness of other people. People can think what they want, but no one should be permitted to spread such reckless mendacity, and if damage should be found to result from it, then it should be subject to criminal prosecution and civil action.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s somewhere to start from. Don’t forget that a few years ago, it was thought that action against the fast food industry was impossible, and longer ago the same was thought about the possibility of taking action against the tobacco industry. Slowly, both of these industries are being taken in hand, at least it’s a start.

    • In reply to #6 by Kevin Murrell:

      If someone alleges that homosexuality can be cured, vaccines, don’t work, prayer cures and medicine harms, and they influence others to think the same, then they are promoting untruths, which are likely to have serious consequences in terms of the health and happiness of other people. People can think what they want, but no one should be permitted to spread such reckless mendacity, and if damage should be found to result from it, then it should be subject to criminal prosecution and civil action.

      That statement displays a fundamental misunderstanding of US law in general and this law in particular. In the US free speech is as close to an absolute right as you can get. So as a result of this law no one is being told that they can’t say “homosexuality can be cured” You can still go to a park and get up on a soapbox and preach about how to cure the gay all you want. You can publish your theories about curing the gay, you can write op eds for the NY Times, etc. So in the same way the idea that this law curtails anyone’s religion is nonsense.

      What you can’t do is set up a licensed therapy business devoted to curing people of homosexuality. There is a big difference between the state telling you you can’t say something because the evidence doesn’t back up your statement and having the state say that certain treatments don’t meet the basic standards for demonstrating potential benefits commensurate with the potential harm. The first action involves the state setting itself up as the arbiter of what is true and false which I think is a terrible idea and I’m a bit dismayed to see you are the second person in the last few days who doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. The second is a very rational response where the state is fulfilling its responsibility to monitor health care providers and make sure they aren’t selling snake oil.

      • In reply to #9 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #6 by Kevin Murrell:

        If someone alleges that homosexuality can be cured, vaccines, don’t work, prayer cures and medicine harms, and they influence others to think the same, then they are promoting untruths, which are likely to have serious consequences in terms of the health and happine…

        I know and fully appreciate the slippery slope that is censorship. Few people, aside from the ultra right, have a problem with the prohibition of hate speech, or incitement as it used to be called. Inciting people to burn mosques or churches in the name of god is not permitted anywhere. Similarly false advertising, making false claims about products or services, is not legal in most civilised countries, though I’m not sure if it is illegal in the Greatest Country in the World.

        So, why should the law permit the promotion of untruths, which if listened to, can have severe mental or physical consequences for other people? You wouldn’t get away with it in business, unless you were able to buy your way out, so why should religious or New Age charlitans get away with it, whether they act for gain, status, superstition, Faith or cussedness?

        • In reply to #10 by Kevin Murrell:

          So, why should the law permit the promotion of untruths, which if listened to, can have severe mental or physical consequences for other people? You wouldn’t get away with it in business,

          I seldom write LOL but this time its appropriate and I would almost go so far as to say ROTFLMAO. And I apologize, I don’t mean to mock you but oy gevalt do you ever not understand how business works! I doubt a day went by in my corporate life when I didn’t end up lying in one way or another. If you could put corporate leaders in jail for lying our jails would be over flowing, we might even have to let out some of those dangerous pot smokers. Business people get away with lying constantly, its almost a given really. Of course its not called lying its called marketing and branding, and “promoting our mission and vision” and “putting a positive spin”, etc. but its lying all the same.

          But as for “why should we permit” people to say things that might be bad the reason is — and its amazing I have to even say this, I know science is important but history is too — you don’t want government to be in the business of deciding what is true and what is permissible to say. The whole ideal of both democracy and science is the free exchange of ideas and once you get the government involved in deciding what can and can’t be said you are flushing the free exchange of ideas down the toilet.

          • In reply to #11 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #10 by Kevin Murrell:

            So, why should the law permit the promotion of untruths, which if listened to, can have severe mental or physical consequences for other people? You wouldn’t get away with it in business,

            I seldom write LOL but this time its appropriate and I would almost go so fa…

            Attacking an aunt sally again, Red Dog. I said nothing about lying as such – only lying which can cause severe harm to people. I also venture to say that I know more history than you do – but I make no claims to scientific knowledge.

            Setting up as a licensed therapist is not what quacks do. Anyone can claim to be able to cure homosexuality or alcoholism, and especially if they are under a religious banner, not much can be done about them. Maybe it would be a good idea for Catholic priests to be obliged to hold a therapist’s licence, in order to hear confessions. Preachers can get away with saying what they like in church, provided it’s not “God damn America.”

            Advertising in Europe anyhow, may not tell lies. The UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco, have just been fined €300 000 for misleading advertising about the pricing of strawberries. Brand imaging, spin etc are not lying, although they may be undesirable practices.

            In talking about “marketing,” you seem to be talking about “advertising,” that is, the way in which goods and services are presented to the public, and the claims which are made about them. Marketing is a bigger thing altogether, including recognition of market openings and niches, product design, identifying appropriate points of sale, profiling of the likely purchasers, designing advertising which is likely to appeal to the projected purchasers etc. Scumbags who are in advertising usually say that they are in marketing, because it sounds posher.

            Democracy is indeed about the free exchange of ideas, but so far in the democratic countries governments have had no difficulty in framing workable laws to prevent misuse of free speech – defamation, hate speech, holocaust denial, conspiracy, false advertising, false financial reporting etc. The government do not enforce the law, that is the duty of the courts and the police. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good, and laws that are too restrictive are often modified.

            Free exchange of dangerous lies, is not easily equated with free exchange of ideas.

      • In reply to #9 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #6 by Kevin Murrell:

        The first action involves the state setting itself up as the arbiter of what is true and false which I think is a terrible idea and I’m a bit dismayed to see you are the second person in the last few days who doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.

        Right, let’s shut down the FDA – which is (scare quotes alert) “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about food and drug safety; shut down the FAA “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about aviation safety and accidents; shut down the courts “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about matters criminal and civil.

        These entities can and do fail when their decisions are driven by things other than facts, evidence and reason. Which in the end are the only arbiters of what is true and false.

        Censorship and any form at all of suppression of free speech can not be tolerated, ever, period.

        However, rights come with responsibilities. There has to be some proportionality. How about: the more aggressive e.g. absolute your truth claims and the more people within earshot of (potentially to be influenced/affected by) them, the greater the burden on you to make sure they are truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.

        A bit dismaying how people feel they have to pretend, out of an almost religious reverence for an 18th century document, that they don’t have a problem with the massive abuse of the 1st amendment as a free license to bullshit. The Theory of Evolution has become the poster child as one of the biggest casualties of this attitude in the US.

        • In reply to #16 by godsbuster:

          In reply to #9 by Red Dog:

          In reply to #6 by Kevin Murrell:

          The first action involves the state setting itself up as the arbiter of what is true and false which I think is a terrible idea and I’m a bit dismayed to see you are the second person in the last few days who doesn’t seem to have a probl…

          Very good, godbuster. What a brilliant team we make! I still think that you overstate the rubric guaranteeing free speech. I don’t think that people should have the right to tell lies which can cause psychological, physical or social harm. It’s a very delicate and difficult area, but not insurmountable for smart legislators and lawyers.

          If a government seriously wants to suppress free speech, then they will always find extra legal ways to do so; baling people up in embassies, mugging their boyfriends at airports, sending them to Siberia or locking them in solitary in a military prison for years and years. On occasion they can have them murdered when they are out walking their dogs.

          Few people complain about these practices, so even what we have now is not so perfect, unless you happen to be a member of a Christian religion

          • In reply to #17 by Kevin Murrell:

            In reply to #16 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #9 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #6 by Kevin Murrell:

            I still think that you overstate the rubric guaranteeing free speech. I don’t think that people should have the right to tell lies which can cause psychological, physical or social harm. It’s a very delicate and difficult area, but not insurmountable for smart legislators and lawyers.

            I think we are better advised to bark with rather than against Red Dog on free speech absolutism. As torn and frayed as it is it has been the only lifeline of sorts of the Mannings, Assanges and SO’s of Greenwalds. You know how frustrating it is when the mods pull a comment of yours rightfully pointing out the habitual, well evidenced, dishonesty and trollesque tactics of a particular commenter (for the sake of “civility®” -you know her feelings might get hurt, ahem). Just imagine this in situations where it really matters.

            You should be allowed to lie but the disclaimers and public service announcements labeling it such should be just as prominent as the lies. The “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimers that I have seen accompany some astrology/”medium” shows are a (albeit pathetic, buried in fine print) step in the right direction. Huge electronic flashing banners behind all pulpits with 6ft tall letters reading “you are being bullshat” is more up to speed.

          • In reply to #18 by godsbuster:

            You know how frustrating it is when the mods pull a comment of yours rightfully pointing out the habitual, well evidenced, dishonesty and trollesque tactics of a particular commenter (for the sake of “civility®” -you know her feelings might get hurt, ahem).

            Tell me who this bitch is, godsbuster, and I promise you I will personally rip her a new commenting hole. Nobody messes with my buddies on this site.

            Damn the moderators too for removing your post because they thought it might hurt the feelings of this woman. What the heck were you thinking, mods?!

            Civility be damned, anonymous female! Prepare to encounter the Wrath of Cordeth.

        • In reply to #16 by godsbuster:

          A bit dismaying how people feel they have to pretend, out of an almost religious reverence for an 18th century document, that they don’t have a problem with the massive abuse of the 1st amendment as a free license to bullshit. The Theory of Evolution has become the poster child as one of the biggest casualties of this attitude in the US

          It has nothing to do with reverence for the constitution or other products of the enlightenment, its about believing in the ideas behind them. And the fundamental idea is that when the government gets involved in controlling speech (as opposed to commerce, travel, etc.) it is inevitably bad. And for me this isn’t even a slippery slope argument. People who want to pass laws making it illegal to spout BS about evolution (as your comment seems to imply) are IMO just lazy. They don’t want to do the hard work to educate people and they fail to realize that in the long run education and not laws are the best and really only long term way to change people’s minds.

          • In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #16 by godsbuster:
            And the fundamental idea is that when the government gets involved in controlling speech (as opposed to commerce, travel, etc.) it is inevitably bad.
            They don’t want to do the hard work to educate people and they fail to realize that in the long run education and not laws are the best and really only long term way to change people’s minds.

            But what of those who spout bulldust about the dangers of vaccination, or the folly of taking effective medicines? Their exercise of free speech sometimes leads directly to suffering and death for their followers, and in the case of vaccination, the death and suffering of those who are vaccinated, can result from other people believing lies. Some people are good persuaders, and some are gullible.

            Under current law, people who spread dangerous lies of that ilk, and cause death thereby, escape scot free, though they are as guilty of manslaughter as a drunk driver. They cannot be silenced, much less prosecuted for their exercise of free speech, and it’s unlikely that they could be sued in a civil court. How does your extreme libertinism and your moribund constitution cope with that, Red Dog?

            In the matter of education – I spent thirty years at the chalkface, trying my best to educate and enlighten the denizens of Fremantle. As you say, you spent your working life telling fibs on a daily basis for the good of the business world. Dont preach at me!

          • In reply to #21 by Kevin Murrell:

            How does your extreme libertinism and your moribund constitution cope with that, Red Dog?

            I think you meant Libertarianism. Although if you knew my personal life Libertine would probably be accurate, well not so much these days but in the past definitely.

          • In reply to #21 by Kevin Murrell:

            How does your extreme libertinism and your moribund constitution cope with that, Red Dog?

            I am an extreme Libertarian when it comes to free speech. I think its too bad that the name Libertarian has been co-opted by people like Rand Paul and followers of Ayn Rand, neither of whom I have any respect for. But people like Thomas Jefferson or more recently Noam Chomsky’s ideas about personal freedom are ideas I’m very sympathetic to.

            I’m curious what kind of speech laws you have in mind. If someone published a vaccine pseudoscience web site would you want them put in jail? Would web hosting companies be liable if their customers posted censored content? What kind of bureaucracy would exist to determine what could and couldn’t be said?

            I mentioned history before. I can’t think of a single example where historians look back on censored speech and say “wow that was a good idea”. There are the obvious cases like Galileo and the Soviet Union but even in the US there are examples where some presidents such as John Adams passed very limited laws prohibiting certain kinds of criticism due to a war that he thought was about to break out and while most historians like Adams they consider that a low point in his career.

  4. In reply to #16 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #9 by Red Dog:
    Right, let’s shut down the FDA – which is (scare quotes alert) “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about food and drug safety; shut down the FAA “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about aviation safety and accidents; shut down the courts “set up as the arbiter of what is true and false” about matters criminal and civil.

    I’m not sure how you got from what I said to shutting down the FDA. I’m all in favor of government regulation of commerce, roads, medicine, etc. In fact I think the US really needs to change our policies. We require proof that something is harmful before its regulated as opposed to putting the onus on business to prove its not.

    What I was talking about was completely different. I’m talking about free speech. its one thing if I sell something that I claim will cure cancer but it clearly doesn’t. I agree that the government should go after me. Its another if the government prosecutes me because I write an op ed or publish an article in a journal that makes the same claim. I’m very much for appropriate regulation, in fact I would say as things stand right now many US businesses get away with robbery because they cause forseeable harms that the public ends up paying for.

    • In reply to #19 by Red Dog:

      In reply to #16 by godsbuster:

      In reply to #9 by Red Dog:
      its one thing if I sell something that I claim will cure cancer but it clearly doesn’t. I agree that the government should go after me. Its another if the government prosecutes me because I write an op ed or publish an article in a journal that makes the same claim.

      It seems as if you are largely arguing against your interpretation of your assumptions of what my point seems to imply. If you were to go through my posts on this page and elsewhere you will not find that I’m arguing for government prosecution. Indeed my thoughts on the practical ramifications are far from fully formed. Heck it’s hard enough to get people to first see that we even have a problem.

      You also seem to have missed this from my comment #16: “Censorship and any form at all of suppression of free speech can not be tolerated, ever, period.” And this from my comment #18: “I think we are better advised to bark with rather than against Red Dog on free speech absolutism.”

      But let’s try and see what the threat of prosecution would look like shall we:

      Does removing homosexuality as a disease from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders constitute censorship? Why not?

      Does ordering the removal of homosexuality as a disease from the pray away the gay foundation’s handbook constitute censorship? Why?

      • In reply to #25 by godsbuster:

        It seems as if you are largely arguing against your interpretation of your assumptions of what my point seems to imply

        Sorry about that.

        Does removing homosexuality as a disease from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders constitute censorship? Why not?

        Of course not. Because the government isn’t involved in DSM, at least to my knowledge, its maintained by the American Psychiatric Association.

        Does ordering the removal of homosexuality as a disease from the pray away the gay foundation’s handbook constitute censorship? Why?

        To be totally clear we would need to define the scenario in more detail but if you mean for example that the government starts passing laws about what can and can’t be published about homosexuality and possible cures then yes absolutely that would be censorship and i would be against it.

        I mean think about it a bit, the US government has people who think evolution is the work of the devil in charge of congressional science committees. Do we really want these idiots to be involved in deciding what counts as allowable science or literature?

  5. In reply to #24 by Smill:

    In reply to Red Dog, post 23. As censorship, there’s also libricide to consider, as an act of oppression of the freedom of ideas and not just in books but in art too: local government destruction of street art (aka graffiti), for example.

    I agree that Libricide is something to be aware of. A while back a few people were prattling on about how cool it is to deface or destroy bibles left behind in hotel rooms and I disagreed strongly. I never want to destroy a book, the right response IMO is always just more books, don’t destroy the ones you don’t like, write or donate books that refute them.

    But on the graffitti, and Chomsky might disagree with me on this one, I do recognize property as a legitimate right. I think in the US we go way to far to protect the rights of property at the expense of other more fundamental rights like the right of everyone to have adequate healthcare but I do recognize that people who own property have a right to (within the confines of appropriate regulation) do as they please with it. I’ve never had my condo tagged, I live in a part of San Francisco that is away from the highly populated areas, its actually kind of cool its almost a little wilderness area in the city, although the city is ever creeping in, anyway sorry for the digression, if someone did write graffiti on our condo I wouldn’t be thrilled with it and would go along with having it removed because it brings down the value for people who want to sell.

Leave a Reply