Should gay conversion therapy be outlawed?
via AP

Should gay conversion therapy be outlawed?

#NoConversionTherapy
#RespectParentRights
Join the conversation and vote below

Hawaii will become the twelfth state to outlaw gay conversion therapy for minors, and many think the rest of the country should follow suit. Conversion therapy is not rooted in science and is harmful to kids. Allowing parents to treat their LGBT children as if they are psychologically damaged is wrong. But others believe the government has no business telling parents how to raise their children. People have the right to practice what they believe. What do you think? 

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#NoConversionTherapy
70%
#RespectParentRights
30%

Conversion therapy should be outlawed because it is harmful and has no scientific evidence backing it up. Homosexuality is not a mental disorder. No one needs therapy to be 'converted' or 'cured'. Sam Brinton describes his torturous and mentally abusive conversion therapy experience in the New York Times.

For over two years, I sat on a couch and endured emotionally painful sessions with a counselor. I was told that my faith community rejected my sexuality; that I was the abomination we had heard about in Sunday school; that I was the only gay person in the world; that it was inevitable I would get H.I.V. and AIDS.

Every mainstream medical and mental health group has come to the same conclusion: conversion therapy is ineffective and dangerous. It absolutely does not work because being gay is not something you can cure. All conversion therapy does is teach people self-hatred and self-loathing. It teaches people that it's wrong to be themselves. We should not be doing this to our children.

Many think that conversion therapy — the snake oil idea that you can forcibly change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity — is an artifact of the past, a medieval torture practice. But in fact it is still legal in 41 states, including so-called progressive ones like New York and Massachusetts. New York City fully banned the practice only last month.

Banning conversion therapy creates a system that obtains justice for those who are forced into it. Underground conversion therapy is still a big and relevant issue. Banning the practice gives victims of conversion therapy a pathway to seek justice without going through a highly public and agonizing lawsuit. Conversion therapy is widely accepted as harmful, so why do we still tolerate it?

But some see this as a parents' rights issue. The government should not get to dictate what is right and what is not for a child, especially for something as highly personal as children and sexuality. There are already laws on the books that protect children from abusive therapists—the government doesn't need to come in to tell parents how to raise their children. 

The Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC) told the Colorado Gazette that parental rights have been established by the Supreme Court, and Colorado Sen. Vicki Marble argues conversion therapy can, in fact, be beneficial for many.

Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said she has known people who found the therapy beneficial. "All therapists are not created equal," she said. "There are good ones and bad ones, and are we going to throw all of them out, because some didn't do right by their clients and others did, very much so?"

Scott Shackford argues in Reason that the government shouldn't be in the business of telling medical professionals what to do, period. Banning conversion therapy is effectively censoring an idea. There's no single set of procedures for conversion therapy. Rather, the ban is on practices that hinge on the idea that a person can be converted from being gay. Even if you believe that's a false idea with no basis in reality, it's still an idea. Conversion therapy is reprehensible and it will go away as cultural attitudes shift. But it's not the government's place to tell people what they can and can't think, no matter how horrible or harmful those thoughts are.

Lieu should be resisted here not because conversion therapy is wonderful and good. It's not. It's a terrible idea. Nevertheless, believing that gays and lesbians can be converted to heterosexuality is an idea that is protected by the First Amendment, and therefore the government has no authority to stop consenting adults from participating in it or the commerce that surrounds it. We are not truly a free people if we are not free to make poor choices.
Share

More from The Tylt

Is America headed in the right direction?
Is America headed in the right direction?
Politics
Should we tax churches?
Should we tax churches?
Politics
Does Ivanka Trump deserve all the hate?
Does Ivanka Trump deserve all the hate?
Politics