Monday, October 1, 2012

A response to SB-1172 Sexual orientation change efforts

From the blog Orthodox Women, a response to California's new legislation that continues down the "speaking against homosexuality is actionable" path. It follows the pattern I outlined just last week pretty closely. Enjoy.

Effective January 1st in California, “gay-conversion-therapy” will be banned for children under the age of 12. The practices were deemed as “psychological abuse” by the governor. The bill is SB 1172 which you may read in its entirety here.

Fortunately the bill only covers those who are considered a licensed, or training “mental health provider” which leaves a loophole open for those seeking counsel from their priests. The bill also is designated for children under the age of twelve.

On one hand, I can have empathy for the idea of putting a stop to parents forcibly putting their children into a form of psychotherapy which might focus on the idea that a minors person hood is wrong. Especially if these children are under the age of 12. This is not the view the church holds of sexuality. The church’s view of homosexuality is that the act of participating in homosexual behaviors is a sin. A person’s orientation may be a temptation they struggle with, but we all have our own individual temptations. Temptation or the secularized idea of “inclination” does not make a person who they are. A person’s actions and conscious decisions make them who they are...

Complete article here.


  1. Second Link goes to article from First Link, not the article quoted...

  2. The assertion at the heart of SB1172, that sexual orientation change efforts (SOEC not "gay-conversion therapy") is "psychological abuse" is not substantiated by the scientific literature. In the most current issue of the American Psychologist (Vol 67(6), Sep 2012, 498-499) Christopher Rosik, Stanton Jones, and A. Dean Byrd draw a helpful distinction between effectiveness (i.e., a long-term change in sexual orientation) and harm.

    Whether or not it is possibly to substantially change an individual's sexual orientation through psychotherapy is, as the APA's Task Force on Appropriate Responses to Sexual Orientation reports (2009), is an open question since "there is little in the way of credible evidence that could clarify whether SOCE does or does not work in changing same-sex sexual attraction" (

    As to whether nor not SOCE is harmful, Rosik et al acknowledge that they "have no doubt that harm can occur" however they go on to quote Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002, "Changing sexual orientation: A consumer's report," Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 33 (3), p. 250), that research on which the APA bases its therapeutic guidelines references the potential for harm but does not "provide information on the incidence and prevalence of failure, success, harm, help, or ethical violations in conversion therapy."

    So yes, SOCE can be harmful but they aren't necessary so. Likewise they can be successful but they can also fail. As I've said in other venues, sexual orientation and behavior are MORAL not therapeutic questions. For better or worse the state of California has--in the absence of reliable evidence--decided to withhold psychological services from a class of potential clients for ideological reasons.

    On SOCE, anyway, I am pro-choice. To bad California is anti-choice on the matter.

    In Christ,


  3. It's ironic that an entire state would work to pass a law against trying to change one's sexual orientation, when all the while all doors are flung open to allow for the changing of gender identity. How is it that a person who feels a homo-erotic orientation may only be spurned and chided for wanting to change, when a person born a man and feels he's actually a woman "inside" can only be coddled and encouraged to be who he "really" is?