This spring, the state of California took an important step towards protecting LGBTQ youth from dangerous “gay therapy,” supposedly designed to convert homosexual minors into straight-laced, God-fearing heterosexual kids. The state chose to ban these fake “professionals” from attempting to convince kids that their same-sex tendencies were some type of disorder that needed to be cured. Now, a judge has blocked the ban, ridiculously asserting that these medical treatments are protected as “free speech.”
Judge William Shubb was hearing a challenge to the ban from three plaintiffs – two practicing therapists and one aspiring one – who believe that conversion therapy is a valid practice for treating homosexual youth. We say the word “treating” with as much leeway and side-eye as we could possibly give it. Shubb decided that since therapy is mostly just talking, this type of treatment should be somehow covered under the First Amendment.
As a parent, I’m shocked to hear that a licensed professional lying to my child could be considered “free speech.” Considering that therapy is a medical practice, I have no idea how a potentially detrimental therapy technique is any different from a harmful drug sold by a pharmaceutical company. Both mental health treatments and pharmaceuticals should be regulated and deemed safe by the government.
I don’t think that the government of California was attempting to say that these professionals cannot write or talk about “converting gay youth.” I find the very idea abhorrent, but we can’t get rid of other people’s opinions simply because we disagree with them. These therapists have every right to their personal beliefs and to speak those beliefs in a non-professional capacity.
However, we’re talking about medical treatment for children. We’re talking about therapy that has never been proven to work, and instead can lead to depression for kids who are told that they have a problem, who are told to deny a part of themselves. If the government is supposed to keep our children safe, this California law was doing it’s job. Now a judge has stepped in and once against risked the lives of children by allowing such practices to continue.
The conservative legal group fighting against the law says that they’re willing to take this battle all the way to the Supreme Court. They’re willing to fight for the ability to take advantage of impressionable kids and confused parents. Our government and judicial system should not let them win.
“Conversion therapy” is a hoax. It is not free speech. It is bigotry parading as mental health treatment.