Dear Senator Lieu,
I am writing as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and published research scientist who has practiced and lectured in both private and academic settings (e.g. Yale, Harvard Universities) including teaching constitutional law and civil liberties (Princeton). For scientific, clinical and legal reasons I strongly oppose SB 1172.
First, as a matter of content, it is false to claim that homosexuality is immutable, and/ or that attempts (professionally guided or not) to change one's sexual orientation are harmful. Claims that science has demonstrated harm are false. Indeed, very large population-based studies performed all over the world demonstrate that even spontaneous change predominantly (in both absolute and proportional numbers) from homosexuality to heterosexuality is a statistical (though not universal) pattern in development.
At the beginning of my career I would not have credited this to be so, but I slowly learned that it is so.
You may find here a detailed analysis of how the scientific record has been misrepresented on this subject, even in US Supreme Court cases: http://www.narth.com/docs/TheTrojanCouch Satinover.pdf.
My testimony to the Massachusetts Senate Committee on the Judiciary, SB199, may be found here: http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2005/Minute s/Senate/Exhibits/jus12a120.pdf
Second, as a matter of legal and ethical principle, liberty itself enshrines the right of self-determination.This is a principle America has been properly forced to learn from the plight of women, racial and ethnic minorities and, indeed, gays and lesbians. It is these groups, especially the latter, who ought properly be at the forefront of the effort to protect the right of all individuals to pursue their personal destiny and sense of fulfillment as they see fit--not effectively to outlaw others' conviction of what constitutes happiness with respect to private sexual activity (Vide Justice Kennedy's comments in Lawrence v. Texas)-- whether that conviction is based on religious or non-religious belief. They should be the most eager among all to defend the right of people to be assisted in such pursuits, even in what some apparently claim to be a foolish (I.e., mere "minority-within-a-minority") pursuit. Not so many years ago they themselves were effectively denied this right on the basis of what has now come to be understood as simple "animus". Does not the same principle hold here?
When I was a child, I well recall the outrage in the (my) Jewish community when the American Nazi party planned a march in Skokie, Il (a next door town south of the town where my family lived, among them many refugees and holocaust survivors). I remember how proud I was that the ACLU came to the defense of the right of the loathsome Nazis to march, regardless of the offense to the many survivors in Skokie. The same nobility of principle ought guide the severest critics of so-called SOCE.
It goes without saying that nonetheless, I do not believe there is any fair comparison to be made between SOCE and Nazism. On the contrary, I have known and assisted many individuals, both men and women, in making the transition they desired from homosexuality to heterosexuality. But from the perspective of our American way of understanding rights, those factual successes are secondary.
Thank you for your service and consideration. Please feel free to have your staff contact me should you wish further information.
Jeffrey Satinover, M.D., Ph.D. [with very minor spelling edits]
"...liberty itself enshrines the right of self-determination.This is a principle America has been properly forced to learn from the plight of women, racial and ethnic minorities and, indeed, gays and lesbians." I don't agree with "liberty" being defined as homosexual self-determination. I hold that real liberty is freedom from evil, of which the sexual confusion that is homosexuality is a part. However, I do agree that it is wrong to violently or coercively deal with the issue. I also completely agree with the point that it is hypocritical of the homosexuals to seek to outlaw minors seeking help with unwanted same-sex attraction or to become informed regarding ALL of the scientific and philosophical, moral, ethical, religious, etc., aspects.
My feeling is that the letter is too politic, but I understand the idea of not offending the confused and fascist minded while attempting to disabuse that one of his utterly false ideas concerning SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts).
I do not buy into the idea that SOCE, per se, is harmful. I am sure that people being exposed to new factual information simply have different reactions for a whole host of reasons and that many just aren't equipped to cope. That does not mean that SOCE should be banned but rather that better methods of SOCE should be found and used.
I have been given to understand that not one formal complaint was ever brought against NARTH for instance for any harm. In addition, certainly people undergoing other treatments for mental states have experienced discomfort and those treatments have not been held up for banning to the level SOCE has. There's something clearly wrong that, that is the case.
I mark it up to false homosexual-propaganda and the homosexual's disease (homosexuality itself; wickedness) clinging within and dictating to the individual, whose true nature is being severely suppressed by virtue of prior abuse, conditioning, and other aspects.
I completely disagree that homosexuality is not a mental illness. It most certainly is. It was a grave disservice to humanity that mental healthcare was taken over by sexual anarchists to the direct detriment of the natural family.
Call me old-fashioned. That's fine. The old way, the pre-homosexual way, was superior teaching and guidance to what we have now.
Mark my words, all of the pro-homosexuality will result in some really bad outcomes that the homosexuals won't be able to mask or obfuscate. I would have thought HIV/AIDS would have been enough, but obviously it's going to have to get much worst before the people turn away from the confusion, before they can see the iniquity in stark enough contrast to real righteousness.