While a great deal of international effort still has to go into removing explicitly anti-LGBT laws — think sodomy laws such as the various Section 377s in Asian countries, or Russia’s anti-gay speech law — it’s also important to press positive legislation that promotes LGBT visibility and inclusion. Equal marriage is one such type of legislation. Another, which hasn’t gained as much attention but is building, would be laws that put an end to coerced therapies designed to “convert” LGBT citizens to “more acceptable” forms of heterosexuality.
California was the first state in the U.S. to pass a law banning so-called “gay cure” therapy — which immediately set off a controversy over whether that was an interference with freedom of speech if such therapies and therapists use only counseling techniques. Could the state put an end to a therapist’s speech aimed at converting LGBT individuals?
(The previous barbaric tactics of electro-shock and lobotomies have usually receded in most civil societies. You can read an excerpt from Gay Seattle about Washington state’s most famous case involving the actress Frances Farmer by clicking here.)
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered its decision last August. Yes, by all means, it said, governments have a right to regulate therapists and therapies. If approaches are considered harmful, useless or forms of consumer fraud — as conversion therapy is by scientific and medical groups — then the government can ban them.
In the U.S., New Jersey became the second state to pass legislation ending such “cure” therapy. Now Washington state is considering it too. (Click here for today’s Seattle Times story.)
For anyone young or suffering from social or religious pressure to become more gender- or sexual-conforming, these laws are an absolutely critical and much needed advance in how we all live together civilly.
Click here for more from Truth Wins Out on the “ex-gay lie.”