Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

If Judges Research, It’s Common Sense That Reparative Therapy Is Dangerous Quackery and Child Abuse, Asserts TWO

Burlington, Vt. –Truth Wins Out condemned a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for temporarily placing a hold on the landmark California law that stops quacks from abusing children under the label “reparative therapy.” The appeals court’s ruling prohibits the state from enforcing the measure, SB1172, until a different three-judge panel decides if the law violates the free speech rights of therapists and parents.

“Justice delayed is justice denied, and each day the court dawdles, more children will be psychologically abused,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “It is common sense that reparative therapy isn’t therapy at all, but a politically motivated attempt to twist scientific language in a vicious effort to stigmatize gay people as sick and in need of a cure. By definition reparative therapy is a deliberate misdiagnosis that inevitably leads to malpractice and that is why a ban for minors is necessary.”

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Right told the Associated Press that the measure’s supporters shouldn’t read too much into Friday’s order.

“It’s disappointing because there shouldn’t even be a temporary delay of this law, but this is completely irrelevant to the final outcome,” Minter said.

Still, before the courts make any further errors in judgment, they should make a greater effort to learn what reparative therapy actually is, said TWO’s Besen.

“It is our view that if they carefully examine the actual practice, they will expedite the enactment of this important law. No rational or reasonable person supports such quackery when they view the bizarre ideas promoted and dangerous practices offered by so-called reparative therapists.”

TWO is astounded that it isn’t abundantly clear to the court that “reparative therapy” is a diabolical scheme designed to dehumanize gay and lesbian people as mentally ill, even though mainstream mental health organizations have said that homosexuality is not a mental illness for more than four decades.

It is obvious to anyone paying attention that the lobby group that represents reparative therapy, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is dripping with disdain and drenched in disgust for LGBT people, says TWO.

From the beginning, NARTH was a politically motivated hate group. NARTH co-founder, the late Dr. Socarides, explained the organization’s views on LGBT people to the The Washington Post as early as August 14, 2007: “Homosexuality is a psychological and psychiatric disorder, there is no question about it. It is a purple menace that is threatening the proper design of gender distinctions in society.”

“Does this sound like legitimate science to the court?” TWO’s Besen incredulously asked.

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member, Gerard van den Aardweg, offered this sage advice in his book, Homosexuality and Hope, A Psychologist Talks About Treatment and Change: “The person with the homosexual drive is pulled to a neurotic and conflictions existence. Stubbornly and imperviously, against all advice, despite the sorrow they inflict on their parents, young people with this problem cling to their ‘choice’ of what their ignorance mistakes for ‘happiness.’”

“Is this view expressed by van den Aardweg genuine research or old fashioned ridicule?” asks Besen. “Why is the court allowing such viciousness leveled against innocent kids to last even another hour?”

NARTH’s van den Aardweg lays out the advice NARTH therapists are urged to offer minors: “You may indeed feel that interest in your own sex, but it is still a question of immaturity. By nature, you are not that way. Your heterosexual nature has not yet awakened. What we have to discuss is a personality problem, your inferiority complex.”

“We challenge any judge to look us in the eyes and tell us that the anti-gay trash promulgated by NARTH is genuine therapy that would improve the mental health of gay minors,” said TWO’s Besen. “This is clearly agenda driven pseudo-pop-psychology created to dehumanize and delegitimize an entire group of people. It is shameful that any court would prop up such propaganda and be hoodwinked into thinking this has any semblance of real science.”

In 2006, NARTH had two major controversies highlighting the group’s bizarre views. In the first, psychiatrist Joseph Berger, MD, a member of their “Scientific Advisory Committee,” wrote a paper encouraging students to “ridicule” gender variant children:

“I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex–but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings. On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.”

In the second controversy, Gerald Schoenwolf, PhD, also a member of NARTH’s “Scientific Advisory Committee,” wrote a polemic on the group’s website that seemed to justify slavery:

“With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America,” wrote Schoenwolf. “It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa. But ites:f one even begins to say these things one is quickly shouted down as though one were a complete madman.”

The media should begin pointing out that instilling sexism and misogyny in clients is a key part of reparative therapy. NARTH therapist, James E. Phelan, in his revealing book, Practical Exercises For Men In Recovery of Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) states:

“It is up to you to help educate her about your needs. Tell her, ‘I need to be the man of the house. Let me be the man of the house.’ Dominant women only demasculinize men. A man has got to be the lion of the den.”

NARTH pretends to be a secular scientific group, but its words consistently show its work is based on religion, not research.

“We, as citizens, need to articulate God’s intent for human sexuality,” Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, co-founder of NARTH, said in CNN’ 360 Degrees with Anderson Cooper, April 14, 2007. At the Feb. 10, 2007 Love Won Out conference in Phoenix, the “secular” therapist told the audience, “When we live our God-given integrity and our human dignity, there is no space for sex with a guy.”

This hidden agenda is why in 2006, the American Psychological Association issued a statement that expressed concern that “reparative therapy” was potentially damaging and might create an intolerant and discriminatory political and social climate. According to the statement:

“For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA’ concern about the position’ espoused by NARTH (The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

– 30 –