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August 19, 2013

Open Thread, and Also, Chris Christie Signs Bill Forbidding Mental Health Professionals From Performing Gay-to-Straight "Conversion" Services on Kids 18 or Under

As Allah says, he won't be winning Iowa.

I have mixed feelings here. I'm pretty sure that such "conversions" are just malarkey and probably do some harm on the net.

And yet, People Have the Right to Be Wrong, don't they? Yes they do. As many have observed, free expression is not your right to be right -- if everyone agrees you're right, you hardly need the protection of a Constitution to express yourself.

Free expression is, in final analysis, about the right to be wrong, and about a government which is restrained from compelling people to Think The Right Way.

This combines with a parent's general right to care for his child and instruct him as he sees fit... and not how the State sees fit.

I happen to agree with the underlying sentiment here -- sexuality is too rooted and complex a thing to be changed by psychological therapy. I doubt very much that straights could be made gay by such therapy.

But neither do I like the State taking decisions out of the hands of parents. Technically the law forbids mental health practitioners from providing such services, but this scotches the left's long-held claim that the bond between a patient and a caregiver (as in the case of abortive services) is sacred and must not be put asunder by the petty laws of mankind.

And who knows, perhaps such laws will be found unconstitutional.

Here's my basic drop-dead takeaway: People are going to do all sorts of things that are mistaken, wrong, harmful, and dangerous.

But there is no real freedom if the state is constantly step in to restrain us from being mistaken, wrong, harmful to ourselves, or even dangerous.

Yes, there is a list of things we all know must be made illegal for civilization to exist at all.

We go looking to add to this list at our peril. And we've been doing very little but adding to this list for the past fifty years.

Guns, Big Gulps, salt, racism (real and imagined), homophobia... apparently we're going to have to destroy the village of Liberty in order to save it.

One day everything bad will be illegal and everything good will be mandatory.

And won't that be a pretty utopia then?

Let's be grown up about this: Freedom does have its downside. And that downside is mistakes and even deaths.

But here's the upside: An unfree life is not worth living. A dog on a chain may be well cared for, but it is just a pet.

Two Good Questions: dicenta asks about the case of a kid who was sexually molested by a same-sex perpetrator and is now sort of "wired" to be gay simply because that was his first sexual experience (and early sexual experiences are potent, of course, particularly for young children).

Any exception there, or does the law now just say "Ah, he's gay now, suck it up"?

That would feel a little like the ban on abortions in the case of rape-- the state's now going to step in to make sure the victimization fully takes and goes all the way to term.

Y-Not also asks if this will apply to priests, say, if parents bring their kids to a priest for counseling. The surface answer seems "no" -- I think the law applies to "mental health professionals" -- but courts may construe this provision, ahem, liberally, and say that anyone providing such services becomes a mental health professional under the terms of the law.

But I don't know. The law might specifically exclude the clergy.

Including, But Not Limited to: CharlieBrownsDildo links the relevant definition of mental health professional:

"A person who is licensed to provide professional counseling under Title 45 of the Revised Statutes, including, but not limited to, a psychiatrist, licensed practicing psychologist, certified social worker, licensed clinical social worker, licensed social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, certified psychoanalyst, or a person who performs counseling as part of the person's professional training for any of these professions, shall not engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under 18 years of age."

But that list is inclusive not exclusive. It does not include the clergy, but neither does it exclude them.



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posted by Ace at 05:04 PM

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