Breaking down SB1172: Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

Effective January 1st in California, “gay-conversion-therapy” will be banned for children under the age of 12. The practices were deemed as “psychological abuse” by the governor. The bill is SB 1172 which you may read in its entirety here.

Fortunately the bill only covers those who are considered a licensed, or training “mental health provider” which leaves a loophole open for those seeking counsel from their priests. The bill also is designated for children under the age of twelve.

On one hand, I can have empathy for the idea of putting a stop to parents forcibly putting their children into a form of psychotherapy which might focus on the idea that a minors person hood is wrong. Especially if these children are under the age of 12.  This is not the view the church holds of sexuality. The church’s view of homosexuality is that the act of participating in homosexual behaviors is a sin. A person’s orientation may be a temptation they struggle with, but we all have our own individual temptations. Temptation or the secularized idea of “inclination” does not make a person who they are.  A person’s actions and conscious decisions make them who they are.

The danger to our morals and values lies in the statements from the various organizations which normalize homosexuality, and condemn those of us who have the opinion that acting on these desires is, in fact, sinful and perverse.

We now live in a fallen world where sin is a perversion of that which is good and holy. Acting on same-sex desires is a perversion of the sexual relationship which God created.

The bill begins by stating, “Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.”

The last word is the most striking. Although their may not be a medical understanding of homosexuality and although the APA has accepted that it is no longer deviant behavior, “shortcoming” is a description of character. This is a direct punch to those who maintain a belief system that acting upon same-sex desires is a perversion of that which is good and holy.

In section (d) from the APA: “Furthermore, anecdotal reports of ‘cures’ are counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure.”

It is interesting that the counterbalancing is only through anecdotal claims, which raises the question, how scientific is the counter-argument?

In section g from The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs: “Aversion therapy (a behavioral or medical intervention which pairs unwanted behavior, in this case, homosexual behavior, with unpleasant sensations or aversive consequences) is no longer recommended for gay men and lesbians. ”

I completely agree. That’s just cruel for treatment of anything.

In section h, a statement from the National Association of Social Workers is quoted saying, “Social stigmatization of lesbian, gay and bisexual people is widespread and is a primary motivating factor in leading some people to seek sexual orientation changes. Sexual orientation conversion therapies assume that homosexual orientation is both pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrates that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and, in fact, they may be harmful”

Once again, this completely ignores the idea that the sin in homosexuality is not orientation, rather it is the act of participating in the deviant behavior. Although this may be true for the conversion therapy in the offices of the mental health workers, this bill is outlining that this view is the norm for those who oppose homosexuality.

The danger is two-fold. On one side, there is a continuation of the normalization of homosexuality and the demonization of anyone who has a belief system which believes otherwise. On the other side, this is another example of pushing those who believe otherwise into the closet. What occurs when a Christian student, who struggles with same-sex attraction and wants to follow the church’s teachings come to his counselor at school? Although the counselor is not allowed to suggest to a student what their orientation is, that counselor is supposed to support the exploration of that student’s identity and support their comfort. Is this not silently suggestion that the student is homosexual?

I recognized today that we are experiencing the same revolution as what occurred during Roe v Wade. We may have lost the battle in the legalization of the acts, but the war continues against the evil one, and the laws continue to morph and change. The last thing we should do as faithful Orthodox Christians is sit back and say, “this is they way the world is going, we might as well deal with it” and close ourselves in the safe walls of our homes and churches. We must continue to fight, we must continue to teach what is right to our children, and we must continue to educate ourselves so that we sound like coherent, loving, Christ-like individuals who support the body of the church, rather than sexist bigots who claim “my way or the highway”

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”
~Matthew 5:48