The Victorian government recently passed a bill which would ban those seeking to provide help for those who want to deal with their unwanted same-sex attractions. This dangerous bill would likely have escaped the attention of most folks, but the homosexual community was fully aware of it.
One homosexual website for example said this when the bill was first mooted:
A new bill set to crack down on dodgy health practitioners such as gay conversion therapists will be introduced to the Victorian Parliament today. The introduction of a proposed new complaints system has been described as “tough” by Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy (pictured) who says existing loopholes will be filled with “some pretty tough new powers”.
“We’ve had a number of challenges in terms of the sorts of services people have been provided and no legislative tools to really respond to it. We’re taking action to crack down on dangerous health practitioners who take advantage of vulnerable Victorians,” she said.
“An example of some of the challenges we’ve seen in recent times – we’ve seen gay conversion therapists out there strutting their wares, we’ve seen unethical representations about treatments claimed to cure cancer that we know don’t work.” A significant change will be that the commissioner will not have to wait until a patient makes a complaint to take action.
In February 2016, the government announced it would promptly introduce legislation to “crack down” on gay conversion therapists in the state. On 9 February 2016, the Health Complaints Bill 2016 was introduced to the lower house of the Victorian Parliament. The bill creates a Health Complaints Commissioner with increased powers to take action against such groups; these powers ranging from issuing public warnings to banning them from practicing in Victoria. The bill passed the lower house on 25 February 2016, passed the upper house on 14 April 2016 with minor amendments and passed the lower house with the attached amendments on 27 April 2016. Royal assent was granted on 5 May 2016. The law goes into effect on 1 February, 2017.
The Melbourne Age was of course quite pleased about all this as well, especially about how Christians will be targeted here:
The state government will attempt to crack down on so-called gay conversion therapy through a new public watchdog with the power to investigate people purporting to “cure” or suppress homosexuality. The move comes amid growing concerns that such practices remain prevalent in Australia – including alarming claims of shock treatment or aversion tactics being used in recent years in a bid to thwart same-sex attraction….
While registered practitioners can already be investigated by authorities, the legislation will close a loophole that currently exists regarding unregistered practitioners making unproven claims that they can covert gay people.
“If they are found to be making false claims and to be acting in a manner that puts people’s physical, mental or psychological health, safety or welfare at risk, the Commissioner will be able to ban them from providing such services,” said Health Minister Jill Hennessy. “We have zero tolerance for any person purporting to be able to ‘covert’ gay people through medical or therapeutic means. Any attempts to make people feel uncomfortable with their own sexuality is completely unacceptable.”
News of the government’s plans come a week after The Sunday Age reported on the growing push behind the scenes to combat the “ex-gay movement”, which essentially views homosexuality as a sin and remains an insidious part of evangelical church culture in Australia.
Part of the problem, however, is that the size and prevalence of the movement remains unclear, and it is not entirely known to what extent conversion therapy is still being used, either through religious organisations attempting to “pray away the gay” or less formal structures.
In early February the Victoria Health Minister proudly put out a statement on this, which included the following:
Other examples include a formerly registered dentist who claimed ‘ozone therapy’ could cure cancer, or people purporting to be able to ‘convert’ gay people through medical or therapeutic means. Individuals who breach the Commissioner’s ruling would face up to two years in prison. If the community is at risk, the Commissioner will be able to issue public warnings and name and shame providers in the media in order to protect the public.
The 142 page bill covers various areas, but of real concern is how it targets those who provide counselling and help for homosexuals who want out, or seek help in their struggles. The Victorian Government believes such people should not be able to get the help they are looking for, and those offering such help should be punished.
As one ex-homosexual said to me about this draconian legislation:
What groups? And what constitutes conversion therapy? This includes religious practices. This would affect any church that says homosexual practice is sin, and who do not simply accept behaviour. Of course there was all the usual baloney about shock treatment etc. I guess they haven’t come across the work of lesbian researcher Lisa Diamond who has now proven that homosexuality is not innate. She is not Christian and says that people just change from this over time, without therapy, etc. I think they need to get a bit more up to date and tolerant. I sure hope the conservative revolution that seems to have begun to roll will see some of these crazy laws repealed or overridden.
Of course some American states such as California have already gone down this path. Concerned groups, including the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), have spoken out about such moves. They said this about the California Bill SB 1172 at the time:
[We strongly recommend] that this bill not be passed out of committee. NARTH is a professional, scientific organization whose members include fully qualified academics and therapists who are fully licensed professionals and who abide by high standards of ethical care. NARTH supports the freedom of individuals to claim a gay identity or to explore their unwanted attractions and make changes in their lives….
In summary, NARTH respects each client’s dignity, autonomy, and free agency in choosing their preferred form of psychological care to address same-sex attractions. We believe that SB 1172 would make for bad law based on its misrepresentation of the science pertaining to SOCE, its potential to unnecessarily restrict client and parental choices, and its assumption of the regulatory functions of mental health associations and
licensing boards. We would urge committee members who are open to broadening their information base regarding SOCE to visit our web site at and review our recent statement about SOCE as well as our Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Unwanted Same-Sex Behavior and Attractions.
As one California therapist wrote:
True change therapy focuses on client narratives, which emanate from their life experiences, values, religious beliefs, and therapeutic goals. In therapy, change therapists and clients explore experiences and false beliefs about the self that bring a deep and pervading sense of personal and gender identity shame. Contrary to popular belief, change therapists do not attempt to change a client’s sexual feelings; rather, we explore what inhibits clients from self-actualization and gender identity wholeness. It runs against the grain of so much of what is known about sexuality and its relationship to identity and personhood. Nevertheless, many therapists reject all change therapies with the result being actual harm that can occur when a therapist is convinced that gay affirmative therapy is right for EVERY client. Likewise, it can be incredibly damaging when a therapist sets an agenda for a client while ignoring both his desires, past experiences, and life narratives.
A very recent article on this is also well worth quoting from:
Christian psychologists and pastoral counselors are decrying the fear mongering over “gay conversion therapy,” with tales of “electroshock” use in church basements, arguing that the state is trying to control legitimate therapy…. Five states including California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, and New Jersey, have passed laws forbidding sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE), one of the terms synonymously used with conversion therapy….
Julie Hamilton, the previous president of Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, and a former professor in the psychology department at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, thinks such legislative efforts belie what actually happens in counseling sessions.
“I have a general therapy practice,” said Hamilton, who holds a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. Hamilton told CP in a recent interview that she regularly meets with “people that are depressed, people that are anxious, people that are distressed about unwanted attractions, and [the approach] is the same for everyone.”
“We talk about what’s leading to these feelings that they have, where do they go from here. It’s talk therapy … A client comes in and says ‘I’m distressed about this particular problem, can you help me?’ and the therapist and client talk. That’s what they do, they talk.” Moreover, she added, licensed therapists must abide by codes of ethics and the state laws and rules under which they are licensed. And they only ever work with voluntary clients.
“If there was something unethical or illegal going on, there are already mechanisms in place to take care of that. We don’t have to create laws that exclude particular groups of people from getting help,” Hamilton said. “These legislators are reaching into the therapy room, telling therapists and clients what they are allowed to talk about and what they are not.”
The article continues:
Joe Dallas, an Assembly of God-ordained pastoral counselor with Newport Mesa Church in Costa Mesa, California told CP in an interview that the claims of electroshock therapy and other highly unethical means being used “are very much like those blurry photographs of Bigfoot that keep floating around … it’s a photograph of something but that sucker never can be confirmed.”
But perchance the charges were true, “I hope that individual who gave this interview with the Huffington Post will have the integrity to name the person or organization who did that,” he said.
Dallas, who lived as an openly gay man from 1978-1984, came to a point in his life where he yielded to his Christian convictions that homosexuality was no longer a valid option for him.
“I had every right to seek assistance in resisting what I no longer felt was right,” Dallas said. “I also had every right to explore my potential for other feelings and responses. Of course, the practitioner I sought help from had the ethical mandate to give me a realistic view of what I was pursuing, as any therapist should.”
“But today, it seems we’re telling the public at large that only one viewpoint of homosexuality is acceptable, and that if an individual who is same-sex attracted does not share that view, then the individual’s worldview needs treatment, not his sexual behavior or identity.”
As one expert, Robert Gagnon, says about SOCE: “McCarthyesque political censors are at work again, self-appointed anti-democratic political moralists with little expertise in moral theology who seek to deny self-determination and freedom of choice. No, I’m not talking about conservatives but so-called ‘liberals’.”
Big Brother is alive and well when governments step in and ban certain groups from getting the help they are so desperately seeking. Welcome to our Brave New Rainbow World.