Few people doubt that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hopes to become president in 2016. Unfortunately for him, he may have just signed away any chance of that.
Last week, Christie signed A3371, a draconian piece of legislation that bars licensed therapists from helping children overcome unwanted same-sex attractions, behavior, or identity. This law bans help for minors even when – as is so often the case – those same-sex attractions arise from childhood sexual abuse by the likes of a Jerry Sandusky.
This law will prohibit minors and their parents from receiving counseling they desire and will force counselors to violate ethical codes because they will not be able to help clients reach their own counseling goals. This law would enslave children – whether abused or not – to a subjectively determined sexual identity that they reject.
The connection between homosexual abuse and “gay identity” is undeniable. Consider this: Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that homosexual men are “at least three times more likely to report CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse)” than heterosexual men.
Moreover, the Archives of Sexual Behavior – no bastion of conservatism – determined in a 2001 study that nearly half of all gay-identified men were molested by a homosexual pedophile: “46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender” noted the study.
For obvious reasons, this politically motivated law has been dubbed the “Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act.” Liberty Counsel, one of the fastest growing civil rights law firms in the country, has stepped in to protect New Jersey children, parents, and licensed therapists. We’ve filed suit to block the law, as we’ve already blocked a similar law in California.
In his signing statement, Gov. Christie wrote: “Government should tread carefully into this area and I do so here reluctantly. I have scrutinized this piece of legislation with that concern in mind. However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards.”
Beyond the fact that Christie and the New Jersey Legislature have just violated the First Amendment rights of New Jersey parents, children and counselors, there remains another problem with his assertion. It’s not true. As with any form of therapy, the “experts” are all over the board on the issue of change therapy.
For instance, both New Jersey Democrats and Christie cited the American Psychological Association, or APA, as justification for this gross infringement on the right of self-determination. Although, no doubt, the highly liberal APA supports this and similar Sandusky Laws for political reasons, the group’s own task force on change therapy – led entirely by members who themselves are “gay”-identified or known political activists – has had to admit, nonetheless, that homosexuality itself “refers to feelings and self-concept.”
The taskforce confessed that such therapy has shown “varying degrees of satisfaction and varying perceptions of success.” It acknowledged within its own skewed, very limited “study” that some people had “altered their sexual orientation.… [P]articipants had multiple endpoints, including LGB identity, ex-gay identity, no sexual orientation identity, and a unique self-identity. … Individuals report a range of effects from their efforts to change their sexual orientation, including both benefits and harm.”
Reports of “both benefits and harm”? Exactly what might be expected from any form of therapy.
But that’s for adults. Here’s the kicker: The APA also acknowledged that there is no evidence whatsoever that change therapy harms minors. Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, addressed this, the most outrageous aspect of the law: “The very report that the governor cited for signing this law also admitted that there is absolutely zero research – none – regarding the effect of change therapy with minors.”
Get that? Gov. Christie just signed into law a bill purporting to prevent harm to minors from change therapy, citing, as the reason, an APA report that admits there is neither research nor empirical evidence to suggest that change therapy harms minors.
Is your head swimming? It should be.
The governor is one of three things. He is (1) ill-informed, (2) politically motivated, or (3) stupid.
I don’t know, I guess he could be (4) “all of the above.”
Meanwhile, there are many experts outraged over this gross overreach by Christie and other New Jersey liberals. Dr. Nicholas Cummings, former president of the APA, wrote in USA Today: “Contending that all same-sex attraction is immutable is a distortion of reality. Attempting to characterize all sexual reorientation therapy as ‘unethical’ violates patient choice and gives an outside party a veto over patients’ goals for their own treatment. A political agenda shouldn’t prevent gays and lesbians who desire to change from making their own decisions.”
Dr. Cummings has testified to personally helping hundreds of formerly homosexual clients achieve the change they desired.
Things get more sinister yet. Last Wednesday, New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace, who sponsored the bill and is openly homosexual, bombastically compared change therapy to “beating a child” and suggested that the government take children seeking change away from their parents. He told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, “What this does is prevent things that are harmful to people. If a parent were beating their child on a regular basis we would step in and remove that child from the house. If you pay somebody to beat your child or abuse your child, what’s the difference?”
Mat Staver responded on the same program: “It is shocking to hear the law’s sponsor threaten parents that the state will remove their children from them if they provide the counsel they need and which helps them. This is the ultimate nanny state,” he said.
I’ll take it a step further, and I think I speak for many Christian fathers. None of my three children suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction, but if any of them did and they decided to seek change therapy to reconcile their feelings with their faith, Mr. Eustace and the rest of his Gaystapo would be extremely ill-advised to crest my front porch with designs on taking my children.
Is this George Washington’s America, or Joseph Stalin’s Russia?
Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)