SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Aug. 24, 2015 — On Thursday Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois signed HB0217, the “Youth Mental Health Protection Act,” into law.
While gay advocates who push for similar legislation nationwide hail the bill as a victory for protecting minors’ rights, that is not the reality. Rather, the government has chosen to use its power to favor a political agenda that strips the rights of children and their parents as well as licensed mental health professionals.
The new law states “that no mental health provider shall engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.”
It is not lost on critics that this is the very age group where gender identity and variants, still classified as disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, are the most susceptible to therapeutic intervention.
Advocates for the ban dismiss any rights of the patient, parents or qualified mental health professional who wishes to address unwanted same-sex attraction. Even if the child is unhappy or depressed and does not want to accept same-sex attraction, the law makes it impossible to seek qualified help.
The law is all-encompassing, with real teeth on the side of affirming homosexuality. It not only bans psychologists, psychiatrists and other licensed professionals from even working with patients who seek their help in ameliorating unwanted same-sex attraction, it specifies that mental health professionals who do so are guilty of fraud and liable to civil suits under Illinois’ Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
This is the tactic that the Southern Poverty Law Center used in filing a “first of its kind” consumer fraud lawsuit against JONAH in New Jersey, another state with a ban on minors seeking help for unwanted same-sex attraction. The Jewish nonprofit offered counseling to those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
JONAH was represented by the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund. The judge ruled for SPLC, but only after forbidding testimony from many of the FCDF experts, including ex-gays, that would invalidate the SPLC accusation made under a wrong-headed law.
The real fraud is the now decades-old campaign by gay activists to politicize psychology and social sciences—and in turn the judiciary process in general. Biased “science” is now used to batter the Constitution into submission and individual rights into oblivion.
The “bible” of psychology in America, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), once described homosexuality as a “sociopathic personality disorder.” As late as 1968, it listed homosexuality a “sexual deviation.”
In 1973, for the first and only time to date in history, a disorder—homosexuality—was simply redefined by a political vote so that it could de-listed as a disorder. The vote was orchestrated and underwritten by major gay activist organizations and sympathetic APA insiders.
The Council on Research and Development of the APA did not actually investigate the issue thoroughly before it gave formal approval for deletion of homosexuality from the DSM, and the Committee on Nomenclature had never formally approved the change. No new research or understanding of old research on sexuality provided any justification for the decision.
In their book “Destructive Trends in Mental Health: The Well-Intentioned Path to Harm” (2005), Rogers Wright, founding president of the Council for the advancement of Psychological Professions and Sciences, and Nicholas Cummings, past president of the APA, candidly state, “psychology and mental health have veered away from scientific integrity and open inquiry, as well as from compassionate practice in which the welfare of the patient is paramount. … Psychology, psychiatry, and social work have been captured by an ultraliberal agenda.”
Wright and Rogers further warn that credible research on subjects considered “politically incorrect” is not welcome, funded or published. Any meaningful research on scientifically valid techniques that would assist distressed people seeking help to address unwanted same-sex attraction is suppressed and denigrated.
The result of such politicized science results in laws such as HB017. It threatens career and financial ruin for trained mental health professionals who want to put their patients’ rights and well-being above political correctness.
Distressed and vulnerable sons, daughters and parents are forced to seek help from whomever they can. Banning social science professionals from researching same-sex attraction and helping these people does not protect patients; rather, it exposes that 15-year-old child or 55-year-old adult to problematic “help” from the well-intentioned-but-incompetent to outright charlatans.
Desperate children and adults with unwanted same-sex attraction are effectively denied the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness as they choose. HB017 rides roughshod over freedom of conscience and religious liberty for patient and practitioner alike.
Ominously, like George Orwell’s classic “1984,” everyday citizens are coerced under penalty of law to think and do as the state does: Affirming same-sex attraction is “goodthink,” choosing your own path or helping another to do so is “badthink” and will be punished.
Such laws are only the tip of the iceberg for what is to come on patient rights, freedom of conscience and other First Amendment rights in America.
How far are we from requiring licensed healthcare professionals to report children or parents to authorities when the patient wants to overcome same-sex attraction? Or, such a patient is automatically declared homophobic and courts order mandatory therapy to “treat” the illness?
The primary argument against treating same-sex attraction is that there is nothing to fix. But, then should we not also ban all elective cosmetic surgery?
Chief Justice Roberts wrote a succinct dissent on the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the “right” to same-sex marriage. Some may celebrate the historical re-definition of marriage, he wrote, “But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
Paul E. Rondeau is an independent social researcher and columnist. He specializes in communication consulting in defense of family, faith, and religious freedom.