In the on-going quest to ban choices they disagree with, a handful of legislators in Olympia have re-introduced bills to prohibit Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE) therapy.
These bills (HB 1972 and SB 5870) would make it professional misconduct for a licensed therapist to help a minor reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attraction. As a result, a minor who is experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction would be unable to get professional therapist.
A similar bill was introduced last year and passed the House of Representatives before dying in the Senate without a vote.
The politics behind this issue are not complicated. The homosexual lobby is deeply committed to marginalizing those who disagree with their view of human sexuality.
Generally, non-discrimination laws are the tools used to compel conformity. They have been used to sue florists, bakeries, photographers, and property owners who did not want to participate in a same-sex ceremony.
One counseling student was even kicked out of school for “discrimination” when she referred lesbian clients to another counselor she believed would be better able to help.
However, it is apparently difficult to accuse a therapist who is in the process of counseling a client of discriminating.
“But they disagree with us?” they protest. “They must be punished. What can we do?”
“I know, I know. If they’re not discriminating against gay people, we’ll make it professional misconduct to help a gay person with something we don’t think the gay person should want.”
“Brilliant, why didn’t we think of this before.”
The world of counseling is supposed to be a patient driven process. But this bill makes therapy a legislature driven process, where politicians get to decide if the therapy is politically correct enough to be allowed.
They don’t believe someone should want to change their sexual orientation so they want to make it illegal to try. Believing change is impossible, they are convinced the only possible outcome of such therapy is pain.
Never mind the fact that many people’s feelings have changed and others have made a conscious choice not to identify as gay. The idea that change is either possible or desirable hurts the feelings of some who have no interest in changing or have tried and failed. Since that is true, you should have the good sense to stop talking.
This is America. You’re not allowed to say things that hurt people’s feelings.
Supporters of the bill claim it will stop abuse of kids who identify as gay. They tell stories about shock therapy and children being forced to watch gay pornography from ice baths in an effort to make them associate pain with same-sex attraction.
While that kind of therapy unfortunately did occur in the 60’s and 70’s, those practices are widely condemned, exceedingly rare, and already prohibited as either unprofessionally coercive or simply abusive.
In two years, no evidence has been presented that the type of therapy described has happened anywhere in Washington in recent history. Actual instances of this kind of therapy are (thankfully) so uncommon that proponents in New Jersey were forced to make up stories about camps that abuse kids in an effort to generate sympathy for their position.
Curiously, proponents of this legislation have so far declined to support a bill that would ban aversive therapies like ice baths and shock therapy. Instead, they prefer legislation that regulates talk therapy.
This suggests the motive is less about protecting children from abuse and more about controlling speech they disagree with.
The effort to control speech is why these bills have significant constitutional concerns as well. In addition to prohibiting one perspective on the issue of homosexuality from being communicated, the House bill would also regulate what a pastor or church employee says inside their church, provided they are a licensed therapist.
There will be a hearing on Tuesday, February 17th in Senate Hearing Room 4 for SB 5870 at 10 AM.
If you are a therapist who has experience with this issue that would be willing to help educate children, or if you have personally benefited from this kind of therapy and would like to share your experience with legislators who have very little information about the subject generally, please let us know
by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are encouraged to contact your legislators through the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and share your thoughts on this or any other bill of interest to you. You can also email them by clicking here.
Your involvement is critical.
If we do nothing, we may fully embrace this brave new world where you can be expected to control your gender but not your impulses.