Nine months ago, when writing about “conversion therapy,” I expressed my doubts about the effectiveness of this treatment, designed to “cure” people like us of our longings for same-sex intimacy and affection.
Despite those doubts, I believe, as I then wrote that, in a free society, “Christian groups have every right to set up . . . companies [offering such therapy, provided they do not coerce anyone to enter treatment.” Even though in a subsequent post, I expressed the intention to address the issue of “coercion“, I have yet to do so. Given that many of those “coerced” to enter such treatment are minors, the issue is not as simple as it might first appear; should the state intervene to prevent this coercion, it would then be acting in loco parentis.
As a reader said when we were discussing the issue on Facebook, “It does get hairy for minors.” On the one hand, I very much want to prevent any teen from experiencing some of the extreme treatments in such programs. On the other, I fear the slippery slope created by any legislation removing parents’ rights to raise their own children. Will the state then try to prevent parents from home-schooling their children or learning to hunt?
At the LA Weekly, Patrick McDonald writes about a bill pending before the California legislature to allow teens to opt out of therapies their parents choose;
Written by California State Senator Ted Lieu and sponsored by the gay rights group Equality California, Senate Bill 1172 would force psychotherapists to tell gay patients about the mental and physical harms of undertaking any so-called “gay therapies.” Therapists would also need the consent of a patient before moving forward with their dangerous work.
Most importantly, the bill seeks to stop all gay therapies of minors, regardless of the wishes of his or her parents. So you have to be at least 18 years old and sign off on treatment before a whacked-out therapist can do anything to you.