Support the Human Right of Self-Determination for Individuals with Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) to Receive Counseling and Psychological Treatment
We need to act now. In 2012, efforts on the state and national level have been made to take away the rights of minors (under the age of eighteen) who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, their families, and the counselors who help them, to receive therapy and psychological support to change and/or diminish their unwanted same-sex attraction, also known as Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE). Such activities include:
- A law in the state of California, which passed with a partisan bill through the legislature, and Governor Jerry Brown signed into law, SB1172, which bans any form of SOCE for minors. Currently, at least two federal lawsuits have challenged this law as unconstitutional, and the courts have issued injunctions to block this law from taking place until legal proceedings take place in early 2013.
- “Stop Harming Our Kids Resolution” which was introduced in the 112th Congress by Representative by Rep. Jackie Speier in the effort to encourage states to “protect minors from efforts that promote or promise to change sexual orientation or gender identity or expression” and ban therapy for those who experience SSA, except if that therapy encourages the minor to embrace their homosexual orientation.
- A bill in New Jersey, sponsored by Sen. Ray Lesniak (D) and Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D), which would prohibit licensed professionals, e.g. psychiatrists, psychotherapists, social workers, from engaging in SOCE with a person under 18 years old.
- A bill (H.B. 2691) in Pennsylvania sponsored by State Rep. Babette Josephs (D) that would ban mental health providers from offering SOCE for minors.
- A bill in the Washington State Legislature that would establish a work group to review and make recommendations on the practice of sexual orientation change efforts on persons under eighteen years of age and to identify the potential harms to clients that may occur through its practice, both by licensed mental health providers and by unlicensed practitioners of sexual orientation change efforts.
- A Bill (H.154) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts titled: “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors” which would prohibit licensed professionals from offering therapeutic services that seek to “change behavioral expression of an individuals sexual orientation or gender identity” or to “eliminate or reduce romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex” for clients under the age of 18.
In sum, these laws, bills, and resolutions are an unconstitutional infringement, and represent viewpoint discrimination for persons, families, and counselors who believe that same-sex attraction can be diminished or changed as a result of counseling and therapy. If we don’t act now, these threats will go unchallenged through state assemblies and U.S. Congress.
By signing this petition, you will let members of Congress and State Assemblies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania know that you support the rights of persons with unwanted SSA to receive counseling, and for parents to have the right to allow their children to be counseled by therapists who uphold and agree with their values and beliefs.