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FIRST-PERSON: A double standard for Calif. teens

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- In California, a teenager can obtain an abortion without parental consent. But if a Golden State Assembly member has his way, teenagers will be unable to receive a therapy designed to help overcome unwanted homosexual attraction.

The proposed legislation also would require adults to sign a form indicating the counseling is not only ineffective but dangerous.

Sen. Ted Lieu, D.-Torrance, introduced a bill that calls reparative therapy "scientifically ineffective" and responsible for producing "extreme depression and guilt" that can lead to suicide.

The bill further asserts that "family rejection" of a child's sexual orientation poses a serious health risk for minors and provides the state with a compelling interest to protect minors from harm.

The double standard in California regarding the state's so-called interest in its citizens' physical and mental health is so glaring one needs to don shades when addressing it.

A teenage girl experiencing the physical and emotional ramifications of pregnancy can waltz into a California abortion facility and undergo an invasive medical procedure without her parents' knowledge. A procedure, mind you, that can result in serious health complications and has proven to be psychologically problematic for many women.

Some of the same "broad-minded" state legislators who allow a teenage girl to have an abortion are considering banning a teenager from obtaining a therapy that could help overcome unwanted sexual attraction. Additionally, the law would communicate to adults seeking the same therapy they are wasting their time.


It would seem that Lieu and some of his colleagues in the California State Assembly are more interested in legislating ideology than in the wellbeing of the state's citizens.

Reparative therapy, also known as conversion therapy, seeks to assist individuals in changing their sexual attractions from homosexual to heterosexual. Many secular professionals who deal with sexual orientation are adamantly opposed to reparative therapy, or for that matter any attempt to change one's sexual attraction.

Among the groups that hold to an inflexible ideology that asserts that there is absolutely nothing wrong with homosexuality are the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In fact, those groups affirm that homosexuality is natural, normal and healthy. Keep in mind the affirmation comes without any definitive scientific study indicating that homosexuality has any genetic or biological basis -- a fact the American Psychological Association admitted in a recent publication.

In a brochure titled, "Answers to Your Question for a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality" (available on the organization's website) the APA states the following:

"There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors...."


While the APA and others defend homosexual behavior as natural and normal, the position is purely ideological and not scientific.

I find it interesting that organizations and individuals dedicated to mental health would seek to ban anyone from accessing a harmless therapy an individual might need. A variety of therapies exist that attempt to help people with psychological issues. If a person is helped by one of them and it does no harm, why seek to ban it?

Thousands of individuals can testify to overcoming homosexual attraction. Some have utilized reparative therapy while others have discovered a different means to victory over unwanted sexual attraction. In all, their experiences validate what the Bible teaches. People can be freed from homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The bottom line is if individuals are experiencing thoughts or feelings that are unwanted -- regardless of the nature of those thoughts or feelings -- shouldn't they have a right to pursue relief via therapy? If teenagers wish to seek reparative therapy and their parents or guardians consent, what is the problem? If adults believe reparative therapy might help with unwanted sexual attraction, why should the state seek to dissuade them?

We live in a country where a person can obtain a surgical operation that will physically change his or her sexual identity. But we have one state -- California -- that is considering doing everything it can to restrict a person's ability to change his or her sexual attraction. What irony.


Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention's office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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