Unprecedented Law will Cause Serious Harm to our Children

  • By Mat Staver
  • October 2013 Issue

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco recently upheld an unprecedented and very dangerous law that will cause serious harm to children, parents, and counselors. Liberty Counsel is asking the full Court of Appeals to rehear the case of Pickup v. Brown. This case will almost certainly go to the Supreme Court. For the sake of America’s children and parental rights in America, we simply must prevail.

Incredibly, the federal Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld California’s new law that bans “change therapy.” Last December, three judges from this same court granted our request and blocked the law from going into effect. Now three different judges from the court have upheld the law. Liberty Counsel has therefore asked the full Court of Appeals to rehear our case, an event termed an en banc hearing. No matter what happens at the next stage, this case is almost certain to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under this law that was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013, minors would not be able to receive any counsel from a licensed therapist that seeks to change unwanted same-sex sexual or romantic attractions, behaviors, mannerisms, or identity. Nor will licensed counselors be permitted to offer such counsel, despite the fact that their clients seek and would benefit from it.

Liberty Counsel represents minors who are receiving and significantly benefiting from change counseling, their parents, licensed counselors who provide such counsel, and two coun­seling organizations – the National Association for Research and Therapy on Homosexuality (NARTH) and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).

We are fighting hard to keep the law from going into effect. This is a dire situation for minors, parents, and counselors in general, and for our clients in particular. Please continue to pray for this case. We are spending enormous amounts of time and money to litigate this first-of-a-kind legal action. If you can help us financially, please do. We must win this crucially important fight!

There is absolutely no evidence that change therapy is harmful to children. In fact, even the outspokenly liberal former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) wrote an op-ed in USA Today stating homosexuality is not immutable and that people can change.

California has no compelling or empirical reason to justify banning change therapy, especially when clients seek such counsel.

One of the counselors we represent was sexually molested as a young boy and developed same-sex attractions and behaviors. But through the power of the Gospel and good counseling, he left homosexuality behind and now counsels those who seek the same freedom he has experienced. But if California’s misguided law goes into effect, he will not be able to provide such counsel!

The minors we represent do not want to act on same-sex attractions, nor do they want to engage in homo­sexual behavior. They are greatly benefiting from their counseling. Their grades have gone up, their self-esteem has improved, and their relationships at home are much improved.

Legislators and judges in the state of California have barged into the private therapy rooms of victimized young people and told them that their confusion is normal and they should pursue their unwanted and dangerous same-sex sexual attractions and behavior, regardless of whether they want their religious beliefs to trump their unwanted attractions!

This law is politically motivated and intentionally designed to interfere with counselors and clients.

It is an astounding overreach by the state. Under the law, counselors will be required to provide, and clients to receive, the viewpoint that same-sex attractions are normal and good. Any counsel to reduce or eliminate same-sex attractions would be banned in California. That is why we must win this case at all costs!

Following the bad example of California, New Jersey recently passed an identical law. We immediately filed suit, and I appeared before the federal district court in Trenton, New Jersey, early in October to argue our case. We are working hard to block the New Jersey law like we did in California!

The homosexual legislator who sponsored it has said publically that parents could have their children removed from their homes if the minors received any counsel to change unwanted homosexual attractions!

Radical elements in the New Jersey legislature went so far as to claim that therapy to alleviate homosexual attractions is the same as child abuse.

This is shocking! And worse, we have received word that other states are now considering similar laws. This is all the more reason we must win the California and New Jersey cases.

My heart aches for these young boys and girls, their parents, and their counselors. We have all heard about the tragic situation in which former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused young boys. Following such abuse, it is not uncommon for boys to experience unwanted same-sex attractions. Some even develop desires to sexually abuse other boys the way they were abused.

These unwanted feelings cause confusion, anger, and emotional disturbance. But under the bans on change therapy, these boys and their parents will not be able to get counsel to help them change these unwanted same-sex attractions or behaviors. Instead, they will be told to just accept such feelings!

These laws will destroy children and disempower their parents. Despite their religious beliefs, they will not be able to get the kind of counsel they need. Christian counselors will be forced to either violate their beliefs or leave the profession. This is completely unacceptable! We must stop these dangerous and destructive laws.

Please, pray for our clients and espe­cially for the minors we are representing in this case. Time is of the essence.

Our current situation in California is awaiting a response from the Court of Appeals on our request for an en banc hearing. If the court agrees, we will file new briefs and reargue the case.

If the court does not rehear the case, we will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. In New Jersey, I have just argued at the district court and we await the court’s ruling.

These cases are incredibly time- consuming and expensive. Please consider making a special gift to help us continue the fight. If we do not stop these laws in California and New Jersey, they will spread like a cancer across the country and eventually impact your community.

Use the enclosed reply card to send a gift. You may also want to send a note letting us and our clients know you are praying for them.

God bless you for your prayers and financial support for one of the most important legal battles Liberty Counsel has yet fought!

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