Dr. Martin Luther King, that great civil rights lion and beloved the world over for standing up for the downtrodden and the disenfranchised would today have his honor stripped from him and ridiculed in the circles of enlightenment for telling a young black teen that he could change his homosexual desires. In California and New Jersey he might even be arrested. Standing up for therapy equality —whether it takes on the form of religious pastoral counseling or nonreligious therapy— is something Dr. King would be leading the charge on today. VoV adamantly believes it should remain a protected right and option for ALL Americans.
The fight for therapy equality and affirming equal access to counseling options in Texas is no longer just a dream thanks to the courageous actions of the Texas Republican Party. As a native Texan and a 24 year EXLGBT American, Im elated to write about it.
Johnathan Saenz of Texas Values Action told KERA News, “Texas Republicans want to make clear: If a parent wants to take their child and have a discussion with a counselor about their questions about sexuality, they should have the freedom to do that.”
The resolution reads in part:
“…we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle…”
Bucking the trend to punish citizens who seek counseling for unwanted same sex attractions —and the professionals who want to help them— the Texas GOP took an unusual step and voted to affirm therapy equality. The move would have made African American Texas GOP pioneer Norris Wright Cuney (1846-1898) proud. When Cuney and other African Americans were building the party in Texas, passion to build a better social and economic future for African Americans was the catalyst that birthed their innovative drive. At that time, there existed no promises of “affirmative action” to lull them into complacency. What they did face was the consistent attacks of the Democrat-led Klan who conspired at every turn to block access to the well being of black American citizens.
There was strong and widespread support for passage of the resolution among Texas conservatives, perhaps fed up with the anti-American actions of liberals who continue to deny rights and suppress hope for potential millions of Americans seeking avenues to change sexual and emotional dysfunctions. Rape, molestation and sexual abuse have been at the root of much sexual confusion. The New Jersey legislation was dubbed the “Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act”, because opponents contended it would prevent victims of abuse and molestation who subsequently developed homosexual inclinations, from getting much needed counseling.
Much of the therapy discrimination is based on nonscientific political posturing. To date, there has been no recognizable scientific evidence or research demonstrating that therapy (or ministry) to individuals seeking change from homosexuality is harmful or ineffective.
American citizens who seek therapy and ministry options to help them live out their identity has been under attack. In California and New Jersey, unnecessarily punitive laws have been passed depriving hurting parents of the opportunity to help their OWN children get professional counseling to overcome unwanted same gender sexual desires. In nine other states, serious attempts have been made to deprive tax-paying Americans of the freedom to seek ssa counseling.
The driving force behind this historic move was Jeremy Schwab of Dallas, himself a beneficiary of therapy and counseling. He’s taken a more proactive, positive role in fighting discrimination against EXLGBT Americans.
Schwab found that necessity was the mother of activism.
“Activists have drafted a bill to be introduced in all 50 states which will ban or severely restrict access to Reparative Therapy and all other SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) including religious counseling. A similar bill is currently under review in the British Parliament which goes much further,” he said.
Said Schwab, “After California and New Jersey passed these laws last year, I began reaching out to Republican State Legislators and State Senators to discuss the law. In Washington State, the bill flew through their House without any opposition from Republicans, but once we talked with the GOP state senators and they came to understand the full story, they stood up and blocked this awful bill. The same has been the case now for eleven other states.
In each case, it took significant efforts to educate GOP legislators and rally grassroots support before their GOP lawmakers realized the importance of this issue to religious freedom. Since this bill is being introduced in all 50 states, it is a critical and unique addition to the State GOP which is not fully covered by the current language.”
That’s why what happened in Texas matters. State legislatures must understand that its immoral to enshrine into law deprivation of therapy equality. No American should have to go day after day tortured and suicidal because he or she has been told there are no options and no choices for them. LGBT Americans have the freedom to seek counseling to affirm their homosexual behavior and its big business. The San Francisco based Gaylesta, a “GLBTQ Psychotherapy Association” lists some 250 mental health professionals available to homosexuals. Why are EXGLBT Americans treated differently? Why give some unlimited options for personal happiness but deprive others of even one hopeful avenue of change? Why is the fate of their happiness and the happiness of their families placed in the hands of people who despise them? Aren’t all Americans guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
This isn’t empty complaining, but the stark reality that in America homosexual activists are pursuing legal tools to punish people who simply want freedom from a crippling sexual and emotional condition.
Pastor Darryl L. (DL) Foster is the Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless and an ordained minister, husband, father, and self-described abolitionist pastor. In 1990, he left homosexuality to follow Christ and subsequently founded Witness Ministries, Inc. a prominent Christian outreach focused on helping people of color gain their freedom in Christ. In 2010, he also founded and organized the Overcomers Network, an Atlanta based EXGLBT empowerment organization with chapters in 18 US cities.