A number of news outlets have recently picked up on a national movement to outlaw so-called gay conversion therapy, a (usually) religiously-oriented process in which people attempt to “reprogram” homosexual urges. The practice is as abusive as it is ineffectual, of course, but some fault lines have developed over the question of whether a legal ban is the best way to combat this practice. An interesting discussion arose in the New York Times following this editorial, the thrust of which centered around First Amendment rights and a possible workaround:
The bans tread on a volatile question: the degree to which the First Amendment protects speech uttered by professionals, like doctors and lawyers, in the course of their work. . . .
There is a more promising way to put pressure on, or even shut down, conversion programs: existing state laws that forbid businesses and professionals to engage in deceptive practices.
Yet one letter writer addressed the singular way that the full force of law could help guide discussions and stigmatize bigotry where other methods might fail:
While there may be other possible avenues to bar so-called “conversion therapy” from practice, passing a law casts a wide net across all corners of the state and sends a strong message to all that this damaging practice, widely discredited by reputable medical and mental health institutions, has no place in our state.
It is an interesting argument that touches on issues of law, morality and freedom. What is not controversial is that gay conversion therapy is a regressive and traumatic practice which deserves no quarter anywhere in professional circles.
Here at PPSC, we take pride in an approach to LGBT friendly therapy that incorporates and values gay identity while exploring the specific issues that may trouble patients. Do you want to find a gay-friendly therapist in NYC? Start here.