In a 3-o vote, the 3rd United States Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New Jersey’s prohibition of using “gay conversion therapy” on minors Monday.
The court added that the prohibition didn’t violate the rights of either child or parent, nor did the ban infringe upon the First Amendment rights of children and their parents to receive information and exercise religion.
This is good news. Conversion therapy is needlessly destructive and harmful; children shouldn’t be forced to suffer because mom and dad live in the 13th century.
The most recent challenge came from an unidentified 15-year-old, called “John Doe,” who said that he suffers from “anxiety, panic attacks, self-hated, and suicidal thoughts” because he struggled with his sexual identity. His parents claimed they had a sincere religious belief that being gay was harmful and sinful.
I feel sorry for this young man; conversion therapy will only make those feelings worse. His parents are the problem, not his sexual orientation. Perhaps mom and dad should stop putting God above the well-being of their own child. God, after all, doesn’t select your nursing home.
The family, represented by deranged bigot Matt Staver of the Liberty Counsel, plans to appeal the ruling.
Staver said in a phone interview, “It is a tragedy when people who are not in the counseling room try to dictate what the client wants to receive and what the counselor is allowed to offer.”
Nope, it sounds like a victory to me. Children should be shielded from poisonous religious practices when their parents are too stupid or too bigoted to be responsible. Now if only someone would do this with anti-vaxxers, who are just as grounded in their science as these proponents of “conversion therapy.”
The law the court upheld was signed by Republican Governor Chris Christie in August of 2013, and bans licensed counselors from trying to “convert” gay minors into straight ones. It was upheld last September by the same 3rd Circuit panel, after it was claimed it violated freedom of speech.
The judge in Monday’s ruling, Dolores Sloviter, said that, “The listener’s right to receive information is reciprocal to the speaker’s right to speak” and, “The fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific type of provider for a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful.”
We need a nationwide law like the one in New Jersey. However, I’d shift it from “mental health” to “health” and use it to go after anti-vaxxers and other public health hazards, as well.