Last year, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed a law making conversion therapy illegal in the state. In a challenge to that, a family filed a lawsuit, arguing that the law made it impossible to seek therapy for their fifteen year old, and that it therefore violated their right to free speech. See, here we go again with these homophobes throwing around expressions that they do not understand. Whenever they don’t get their way, they scream that their “religious freedom” is being infringed upon, or that their “free speech” is being violated. Um… no! This law does not prevent you from going out and saying that you approve of conversion therapy, nor does it stop you in any way from talking about it… your free speech is, therefore, still constitutionally and fundamentally intact. What this law did is strike down a barbaric practise that has no scientific, medical or psychological merit. According to Judge Freda Wolfson, this is exactly the case, and she held up the law, dismissing this ridiculous lawsuit.
I’ve spoken before of the complete absurdity and ineffectiveness of conversion therapy, so I won’t bore you now with the same argument. Instead, I’m going to applaud Judge Wolfson’s argument and ruling.
Surely it is undisputed that a state has the power to regulate not only medical and mental health treatments deemed harmful, but also those that are ineffective or that are based not on medical or scientific principles but, instead, on pseudo-science.
…the fundamental rights of parents do not include the right to choose a specific medical or mental health treatment that the state has reasonably deemed harmful or ineffective. To find otherwise would create unimaginable and unintentional consequences.
Quite frankly, I think calling conversion therapy a pseudoscience is being overly generous. The practice is a gross waste of time, money and resources – not to mention the fact that it’s immensely damaging to the victims who are subjected to it. It’s a completely archaic form of torture, and it remains a mystery as to why any version of it is still legal at all.
Like I’ve said before, as much as it upsets me that any person believes that they should undergo conversion therapy, I absolutely understand their desire. Not everyone has the necessary support when they come out, and they feel that conversion therapy is the only way that they are able to hold on to their loved ones. Sometimes, they do have the support, but have spent so long hating their own self that they’d do anything to “fix” themselves. So, in these cases, as awful as I think it is, I can respect a gay person’s choice to undergo this monstrosity of a solution to a problem that ultimately doesn’t exist.
However, what I do take major issue with is a heterosexual forcing someone to undergo reparative therapy – whether that “someone” is their child or not. In fact, it’s even more disgusting when it is their child… when it is a child, period. The role of parents is not to force their child to become a mirror image of their beliefs and expectations, but to love, encourage and support their child to become a good person, regardless of this child’s individual beliefs. What’s worse is that conversion therapy has been proven to be incredibly detrimental to adults who suffer through it. Can you imagine how much worse it would be for a teenager who is, at this point, struggling with their self-esteem far more than they ever will at any other time in their life?
So we applaud this decision by the courts of New Jersey. It would be best if the moronic practice of conversion therapy were made illegal in every state, for anyone of any age, but it’s okay if we start with baby steps.