I get it. Matt Barber thinks gays are disordered and he opposes CA SB 1172.
Agree with the bill or not, one should not exploit a tragedy in order to mislead people about what the bill says.
Barber says the bill prevents counselors from helping kids who have been sexually abused. He writes at WND:
The critical importance of stopping SB 1172 and similar legislation springing up elsewhere becomes especially clear when one considers that such sexual confusion is frequently caused by sexual molestation at the hands of homosexual pedophiles like Jerry Sandusky (hence the moniker: “Jerry Sandusky laws”).
First of all the general link between homosexuality and child abuse he attempts to make is spurious. The Tomeo study he refers to (Archives of Sexual Behavior determined in a 2001 study…) is not accurate and the second author has acknowledged this. That study or any other one finding a correlation between abuse rates and orientation can tell us nothing about causation. If Liberty Counsel makes that argument in court, I hope the court gives them a lesson in research methods.
Second, the new law does not prevent counselors from helping kids who have experienced such tragedy. Here is what the law says:
(o) Nothing in this act is intended to prevent a minor who is 12 years of age or older from consenting to any mental health treatment or counseling services, consistent with Section 124260 of the Health and Safety Code, other than sexual orientation change efforts as defined in this act.
Treatment for sexual abuse recovery is not prohibited. One does not need to tell kids that they can change their sexual orientation by healing from sexual abuse in order to treat the effects of sexual abuse.
(b) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.
(2) “Sexual orientation change efforts” does not include psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.
Barber also falsely says:
[The law] would have forced counselors to violate their oath to “do no harm,” compelling them to advise sexually confused children to adopt a “gay identity” they reject.
The law does not require a counselor to advise any clients, sexual confused or otherwise, to adopt a gay identity. The law simply says that counselors may help clients explore their their identity but does not prescribe an outcome. This law does not prevent clients from deciding they are gay or not gay. It simply prevents therapists from applying interventions that are explicitly designed to changed their sexual orientation.
It seems obvious that Barber’s objection here is based on the fact that he doesn’t understand the proper role of a counselor. Counselors don’t tell clients what identities they should adopt. Such paternalistic approaches would probably put a counselor at risk for a disciplinary action even without SB 1172.
I am not sure the law will pass constitutional muster and will depend in part on how the court rules on the professional-client speech issues. For this post, the merits of the law are not the point. Rather, an accurate description is at issue. Furthermore, exploiting one of the most heinous cases of our time is irresponsible.