In what is not an unexpected development, Liberty Counsel is suing to stop the ban on ex-gay therapy from going into effect in New Jersey. Their claim, as with the claim in California, is that this therapy somehow helps children who have been sexually molested despite any evidence showing that.
The Religious Right have long tried to pain these bills as hurting children. Often they call them “Jerry Sandusky bills” after the notorious Penn State pedophile. Matt Barber even took to Twitter to call the bill that today and tell Chris Christie that he can forget about becoming President.
Liberty Counsel claims that the ex-gay therapy bill “prohibits only one viewpoint regarding change counseling and, therefore, constitutes viewpoint discrimination,” and that the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that “the First Amendment forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others.”
Unfortunately for Liberty Counsel, this may not be as simple a case as that given that ex-gay therapy likely does not fall under free speech so much as a good or service, and providing a fraudulent or harmful good or service- in this case therapy- can not only be regulated by the government, but can get the provider sued.
Liberty Counsel litigation counselor Daniel J. Schmid claimed that the law “blatantly infringes upon the First Amendment rights of counselors to provide, and patients to receive, counseling consistent with their religious beliefs and that tramples on the fundamental rights of parents in New Jersey to direct the upbringing of their children.”
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of LC claimed that “Not one of the organizations mentioned in A3371 actually prohibits change therapy. The government should stay out of the counseling room and should never come between a counselor and the client. This bill is so broad that parents would be prohibited from seeking help for their son who developed unwanted same-sex attractions after being molested by the likes of Jerry Sandusky. This law would inflict serious damage to children, parents, and counselors,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel’s counselors have remained blissfully ignorant of what is involved in ex-gay therapy, and that it has never been shown to provide any benefits, but has been shown to repeatedly harm those exposed to it.
Among the methods employed in ex-gay therapy are showering, bathing, or getting naked with people of the same sex as well as cuddling people of the same sex. Another therapy that has been employed in the past is to beat the effigies of the opposite sex parent in order to instill hatred in the opposite sex.
Recently, Alan Chambers of Exodus International, the once leading umbrella group for ex-gay therapy organizations, admitted that ex-gay therapy does not work and that it actually harms children who have to under go it.
An ex-gay lobby day held on 31 July drew exactly ten people, two speakers, and about thirty members of the press.