We can have the debate about Conversion Therapy. This is, for the few who might not be aware, when groups attempt to use therapy to “cure” homosexuals.
This therapy is much better known for well-publicized failures (usually involving the delicious irony of a group leader caught with their pants down, literally in some cases) and as far as I know actual scientific studies into the effectiveness of such therapies shows that results are at best inconclusive and at worst mostly unsuccessful.
We can debate the affectiveness of this kind of therapy and share anecdotes and make But I’m A Cheerleader the SD Movie Of The Week. Although I am pretty sure that’s happened here at some point. (Not everyone viewing the movie; though everyone should see it, it’s a gas.)
However, here’s a new wrinkle:
This is a whole 'nother kettle of worms…
I don’t think there is anything wrong with being gay and I question the ability of any therapy to change one’s sexual orientation. And I think that government does have a role in making laws to protect children from abuse, medical quackery or unfit parents in general.
However, while I may find it personally repugnant that a parent would subject their child to such therapy, I also find it repugnant that parents do a great many things with their children, none of which I could make a case for criminalizing.
And even if this is made illegal, a gay child will still reside in a house hostile to his or her sexuality, possibly even more hostile since the government is stopping them from doing what they feel is best as parents. To be sure, this law won’t involve gay kids and teens being removed from parents who disapprove of their sexuality regardless of their now inability to ship them off to anti-gay camp. And I don’t think it should.
Also, won’t freedom of religion come into this somehow? It’s pretty obvious that an overwhelming majority of such therapy outfits are religiously affiliated themselves or get most of their patients through churches. In fact, I would be surprised if there were any specifically secular groups who offer gay-to-straight therapy, but even if a few are around they would have to be in the minority.
There’s a line in my mind (and I think in the law) between the government infringing on Constitutionally protected religious beliefs & the ability for parents to instill them into their kids and holding parents accountable for injuries or death that might come from witholding medical treatment because they are a Christian Scientist, or handling snakes in a Pentecostal church ceremony.
What side of the line is this on?