We’re in the middle of the Top Ten false “facts” reported by Judge Vaughn Walker in his decision to overturn Proposition 8 in California—a decision that could erode marriage and First Amendment rights in the entire country. See yesterday’s column here if you missed the first five false “facts.”
6. “No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.” (FF 46)
I guess thousands of ex-gays just don’t exist in Judge Walker’s special-pleading universe. Neither does renowned Columbia University psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who concluded that some highly motivated individuals can change their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through reorientation therapy.
This is significant because Spitzer is no propagandist for the religious right. Quite the contrary—a self-described “Jewish atheist,” Spitzer has been a hero to homosexual activists since 1973 when he helped get homosexuality declassified as a mental disorder. Recently, however, they’ve turned on him because he reported the truth.
Dr. Spitzer said that his 2003 study “has been criticized severely by many people, particularly gay activists, who apparently, feel quite threatened by it. They have the feeling that in order to get their civil rights, it’s helpful to them if they can present the view that once you’re a homosexual you can never change.”
When asked whether the American Psychiatric Association should now change their position statements that say orientation cannot be changed, Dr. Spitzer said, “I think they should, [but] they will not be. . . . There’s a gay activist group that’s very strong and very vocal and is recognized officially by the American Psychiatric Association. There’s nobody to give the other viewpoint. There may be a few who believe it but they won’t talk.”
Dr. Spitzer then acknowledged explicitly that politics often trump the scientific facts at organizations like the APA (an organization cited to bolster Judge Walker’s conclusion). He also said that the APA should stop applying a double standard by discouraging reorientation therapy, while actively encouraging gay-affirmative therapy that’s intended to confirm and solidify a homosexual identity. Good point by Dr. Spitzer. After all, if people can be talked into it, then why can’t they be talked out of it?
Sexual orientation isn’t like race either. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.