What if NARTH was a scientific organization?

Yesterday, I pointed out that most members of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) are not mental health professionals or scientists. Even though the name of the organization promotes research and therapy, three-fourths of the members are not trained or credentialed to do either activity.

Despite the constituency of the group, NARTH is promoted by religiously conservative groups as a scientific organization. One example of this is an appearance in July of this year by NARTH President Julie Hamilton on Washington Watch Weekly, a radio program of the Family Research Council. FRC has taken a lot of heat, from me included, about the information they disseminate about sexual orientation. Some of that criticism should also be directed at the sources of their misinformation. As this interview illustrates, one such source is NARTH.

Tony Perkins sets up the interview by referring to the then current controversy over Marcus Bachmann’s counseling clinic and the allegations that he provides reparative therapy. Then he gets to the interview:

There’s a bigger agenda here. They [gay advocates] want to discredit anything that has to do with Christianity. But there’s something even more troubling here. And what they are doing is that they are trying to discredit a type of therapy that’s based on scientific research and that’s why I’ve invited my next guest to join me. Dr. Julie Hamilton is the President of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, or NARTH. NARTH is a professional scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction. They’re not a Christian organization per se, they are focused on the science to help people who want to escape the lifestyle of homosexuality. Dr. Hamilton is also featured by the FRC’s new documentary, The Problem with Same-Sex Marriage and you can find out more about that at FRCRadio.org.

After the introduction, he gets to the bottom line:

Perkins: It’s no surprise to us that faith based counseling is under attack but what does the scientific research say about sexual orientation and an individual’s ability to change it?

Hamilton: The research is clear that people are not simply born gay and that people can change in the area of their sexual orientation.

After some conversation about client self-determination, the interview returns to what research says about change therapy.

Perkins: Now in the wake of this attack on Congresswoman Bachmann and her husband Marcus, we see a number of quote-unquote experts, counselors parade out on cable networks, and I’ve not seen, it’s certainly not a debate, it’s one-sided and they’ve all said, ‘well, all of this type of counseling, the reparative therapy, the idea that people can come out of the lifestyle, that’s been disproven, it’s been rejected and that is harmful and should not be allowed.’

Hamilton: Ok, that’s simply not true. What’s missing from the discussion is what research really reveals. Recently, NARTH releases a landscape survey and an analysis of 125 years of data. So basically we looked back 125 years of case studies, reports and research studies looking to answer the question, is change possible? And what we found is that over the last 125 years, change of sexual orientation has been documented in the scientific literature. And so we know looking at that that for years it has been clear, and even in the recent studies it has been very clear, that people can and do change in the area of behavior as well as attraction. So, and the other thing that we looked at in our landscape review was whether or not change attempts were harmful. And we found very clearly that there is no established report of harm to individuals that therapy tends to be more helpful to people and that it is not a harmful thing. There’s no, and even the American Psychological Association did admit in a report in 2009 that there is not enough evidence to claim that it’s harmful.

There is a lot wrong with Hamilton’s defense of change therapy. First, she glosses over the fact that even the most charitable reading of studies of orientation change find that most participants aren’t successful. Second, she cites the NARTH review which dismisses the flaws in the studies conducted over those 125 years of research. In the NARTH review, George Rekers is cited and we now know the rest of the story about his failed research on gender variance and his own personal issues. The work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson is cited despite the fact that none of Masters’ co-workers have come forward to say they ever saw any of the conversion therapy clients claimed by Masters. Even Masters’ wife and co-author, Virginia Johnson had questions about the existence of the conversion cases.

Some therapists who produced case studies of cure simply made up the cases (e.g., Cornelia Wilbur in collaboration with journalist Flora Schreiber). Many of those old studies were aversive therapy studies where electric shock was used to provide pain in association with same-sex attraction. While some people reported changes, there is very little follow up to find out if they remained changed or simply adapted to the shocks. These methods were discontinued for ethical reasons. NARTH continues to tout studies of approaches no one uses now to bolster their claims. I could go on, but I’ll stop after I note that Hamilton did not mention the studies that find minimal or no change, like the Edification study where the same-sex attracted member of mixed orientation marriages reported no change in attraction on average.

What if NARTH’s representatives disclosed the problems with the research in their public statements? What if they were candid and reported that some of the old studies are flawed to the degree that they cannot be used? What if these representatives disclosed that many of those who report change continue to be attracted to the same sex? Or also mentioned that some studies find no change? What if the differences in results for men and women were disclosed? Or the existence of bisexuality was included in the discussion of what the reported changes mean? What if they reported data from studies discrediting reparative therapy?

Can you imagine a 125-year landscape review of autism or childhood schizophrenia produced in the manner NARTH touts its survey? NARTH reps would be on the radio bringing back cold, distant refrigerator mothers as the cause.

It is possible that groups like the Parents Action League, ACPEDS, and Defend the Family International (Scott Lively) could find some other way to promote their views, but if NARTH was a scientific organization it wouldn’t be NARTH.

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  • Bernie

    Oh Warren, I do hope you send a copy of this to Perkins and Nicholosi.

  • David Blakeslee

    Good Analogy:

    Can you imagine a 125-year landscape review of autism or childhood schizophrenia produced in the manner NARTH touts its survey? NARTH reps would be on the radio bringing back cold, distant refrigerator mothers as the cause.

  • Michael Bussee

    I sure hope Exodus is paying attention. They still have high praise for NARTH on their website:

    “NARTH is an excellent professional, scientific, and therapeutic organization (again, not “megalithic” at all) that provides much research and many articles helping the lay person to understand some of the root contributing factors of same-sex attraction.”

    http://exodusinternational.org/2010/02/dispelling-the-myths-about-onebyone-and-exodus-international/

  • Pingback: NARTH is not primarily composed of mental health professionals — Warren Throckmorton

  • http://gayambassador.blogspot.com/ Anthony Venn-Brown

    good article Warren…..thanks for delving deeper and demonstrating how misinformation creates wrong perceptions.

  • sam

    Warren,

    If you look at Narths website, they do admit that there are times when change and success are not possible for some people:

    http://narth.com/2011/10/2061/

    Are you saying that their definition of success and change is unclear?

  • Teresa

    Are you saying that their definition of success and change is unclear?

    Sam, what is NARTH’s definition of success and change?

  • sam

    I don’t know for sure, Teresa. But my best guess, is that people who’ve lived homosexually started getting married to opposite sex, having children, and feeling happy about it.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    sam – yes, I am saying that. Your link is to one study. NARTH’s presentation as a whole is that change is possible without defining change or providing a clear picture of the actual state of research on the matter.

  • sam

    Thanks Warren,

    But wouldn’t you agree that human sexuality as a whole is such a complicated issue, therefore in different cases, the definitions of “happiness,” “sucess,” “failure,” and “change” cannot come up so black and white?

  • Teresa

    Sam, this blog has spent endless hours discussing ‘change’. It may behoove you to read through some of Warren’s Blog Posts. This site is, in my opinion, one of the very few that is pretty rigorous in pointing out just what is, and what is not, possible for orientation change. Cut-to-the-chase, orientation change for gay men is seldom, if ever, possible. For gay women, change in orientation is sometimes possible … but, still relatively small. That’s the nuts-and-bolts of the issue.

    Those persons who claim orientation ‘change’, may, in fact, be bi-sexual.

    Behavior can ‘change’ … one can be celibate, or one can choose to marry … which, in the majority of cases doesn’t work; and, can bring a lot of hardship to those involved.

    I think this is the str8 scoop about what’s going on in the real world. It’s not the world that NARTH likes to portray; but, it’s what’s really happening.

    People can deny, and often do, the fact that they’re gay. They can, after spending thousands of dollars and years of therapy, pretend they’re not gay, claim ‘change’ … but, in the end, they’re gay.

  • sam

    If what you’re saying is true, meaning that in majority of cases it brings hardship to people, then APA should have ruled SOCE unethical, knowing their strong pro-gay identity stances, but they didn’t. in 2009, APA has affirmed clients’ rights who either want to change their orientation or not to change gay identity to do that. My vision is that something is going on here.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @sam – by that definition, George Rekers would be a success. He got married to someone of the opposite sex, and was all accounts very happy with boys-for-hire the same age as his adopted son, when the latter was no longer available. For companionship I mean, in both cases. After all, who hasn’t received genital and anal massages in the nude like that? All perfectly innocent, and not at all anything remotely connected with sexual attraction. He saw nothing wrong with it.

    It’s no longer funny the number of “Christian Councillors” , Pastors, Bishops etc, all rabidly anti-Gay, who turn out to engage in similar practices. They’re seriously messed-up people, and their illness inflicts harm on countless others, not just they themselves.

    @warren – I must differ. When you said

    Many of those old studies were aversive therapy studies where electric shock was used to provide pain in association with same-sex attraction. While some people reported changes, there is very little follow up to find out if they remained changed or simply adapted to the shocks. These methods were discontinued for ethical reasons.

    They may have been discontinued for Gays (though I have my doubts as to whether that’s completely disappeared), but they’re certainly practiced on Trans people – especially Trans children. Also, even more blatantly, on Autistic children.

  • Teresa

    in 2009, APA has affirmed clients’ rights who either want to change their orientation or not to change gay identity to do that. My vision is that something is going on here.

    Your vision has nothing to do with what’s going on here, Sam. Everyone, absolutely everyone, has the freedom to choose whatever type of therapy they want. Because there is such shame attached to being gay, personal and cultural, some persons will seek out SOCE therapists. The APA, above all else, affirms a client’s right to choose what they think is best for themselves.

    The dog in the stake in all this, is that client’s should be correctly informed about what is and what is not possible … the facts, as best we know them right now. Exodus, and the like, for years did not and would not tell those that came to them, sometimes willingly, many times not … that their orientation would not ‘change’

    John Smid, a Director of Love in Action, spent several decades doing this to the men (some women) who came to LIA. Told each of them, they could ‘change’ their orientation. His recent recantation of his Christian outreach gave the lie to all those years, and all those desperate men and women. His statement, more damning than any ‘science’ of NARTH, his long years and who knows how many clients … he’s never seen one gay man change their orientation to str8.

    This is not some skewing of data, some propaganda, some SPLC conspiracy, some skunk in the woodpile, pie-in-the-sky theory about ‘change’ is possible, Sam. The ‘boots on the ground’ facts are just what John Smid states: “it ain’t about to happen”.

    SIT, Sexual Identity Therapy, living one’s life in congruence with one’s faith beliefs … learning to accept who we are, just as we are … and, living that life the best way we can, is, again in my estimation, the best therapeutic approach for anyone … str8 or gay.

  • sam

    Oh please,

    That Rekers affair, is a gossip set up by a bunch of gay journalists in order to create a sensation. But if it’s true that Rekers was doing those things, still SOCE is not ruled unethical. That’s what interesting.

  • sam

    Exodus and Love in Action, are religious ministries, while SOCE is psychological therapy. Thus, whatever Jon Smid is saying, he’s speaking from pastoral perspective. 2 different things. Besides, the Bible doesn’t say anything about us needing to change our feelings, so from biblical perspective, he is correct. But I am curious about SOCE, a psychological therapy. It is still legally available to people, despite objections.

  • Teresa

    But I am curious about SOCE, a psychological therapy. It is still legally available to people, despite objections.

    Sam, if you want to pursue SOCE, you are free to do so. No one is stopping you. That’s what’s wonderful about our country. You are free to think all the ‘gays’ are out to get NARTH, that they’re the good guys … they’re the David against the mammoth Goliath, Gideon against the Midianites. As tough as it is to swallow for some folks, freedom cuts all ways … not just what some folks want to impose on others. If SOCE seems a reasonable therapy alternative for some, that’s fine. No one here would want to deny another an opportunity to pursue their hopes, dreams, desires … however and whatever that entails.

    BTW, whatever John Smid is saying, he’s saying from years of experience … you are not.

  • sam

    I don’t want to pursue anything, I’m just asking questions. Nor I am competing against Smid. My point is that his expertise is purely religious/spiritual, not scientific/psychological. Whatever his views are to people not being able to change their orientation, they are apples and oranges in regards to SOCE being allowed. People who run NARTH, Nicolosi, Byrd, Whitehead, Pruden are all mental health professionals and they speak from experiences in the field of psychology. APA took it very seriously when they listened to their experiences and their position that in general, change is possible.

  • Teresa

    Sam, I guess you’re dismissing everything Warren has just recently Posted on NARTH; and, just how scientific an organization it is. I guess we shouldn’t confuse you with the facts.

    People who run NARTH, Nicolosi, Byrd, Whitehead, Pruden are all mental health professionals and they speak from experiences in the field of psychology.

    These persons mentioned, may be well-intentioned, but they appear, at every turn, to obfuscate what the word ‘change’ actually means. They have an agenda; and, the science that says otherwise never sees the light of day for them. They are driven by religious belief, not true professionalism. They are not one whit different than John Smid … a fancy title only separates them.

    It is clear, Sam, that you also have an agenda driven by religion, which is perfectly fine. It is futile to disabuse you of your cherished ideas about gays and ‘change’ … however, lying just beneath the surface of your “speaking the truth in love” is your deeper belief that just being a homosexual is ‘bad’, ‘evil’, ‘perverted’ … yucky. The same deep antipathy towards gays permeates much of NARTH.

    APA took it very seriously when they listened to their experiences and their position that in general, change is possible.

    Sam, perhaps, you can experiment with yourself; and, let us all know how that “change is possible” mantra with SOCE works for you. Heck, if it’s possible for gays to ‘change’ … it should be possible for str8′s to ‘change’.

  • sam

    Teresa,

    How do you know that people who run Narth are driven solely by religious belief and not professionalism?

    So, you don’t like the message so you shoot the messenger again….yawn….

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    How do you know that people who run Narth are driven solely by religious belief and not professionalism?

    So, you don’t like the message so you shoot the messenger again….yawn….

    Its evident in almost everything they’ve posted, and in everything Warren here has posted *about* them over many years – the fact that you still defend them tells me you haven’t truly read or understand what they say. Warren knows this organization far better than you, so you should listen to him!

  • David Blakeslee

    It is very difficult to “tease” out the motivations of others, liberal, conservative, religious and secular.

    All of the above are involved in scientific enterprises. One good way of revealing their motives is the way they construct their research or describe existing research. If their collection of research has obvious selection biases, or does not control for important or obvious confounding variables, it is reasonable to assume that “world view” factors are corrupting the scientific process.

    If small pieces of good research are extrapolated to the general population to make broad conclusions and direct public policy, it is reasonable to assume that “world view” factors are corrupting the scientific process.

    If only selective, affirmative research is used to support a scientific assertion, it is reasonable to assume that “world view” factors are corrupting the scientific process.

    I would remind everyone of how aggressively Spitzer’s study of change was ridiculed by the advocacy community…clearly a secularist, and proven scientist.

    I would remind everyone of how aggressively Bailey’s research was ridiculed by the advocacy community. No political agenda colored his work, or fundamentalist viewpoint.

    These two researchers were picked apart at a personal level because of what political advocates wanted to do with their research or because of what political advocates feared their research would obstruct.

    NARTH selectively cites research that reinforces stereotypes and ignores research which implies the health and resiliency of homosexuals.

    You may want to look as Kinsey’s research on Human Sexuality for an example of harmful, biased research which was strongly distorted by his world view. In this regard our outrage at NARTH is important, but completely out of context.

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    “But wouldn’t you agree that human sexuality as a whole is such a complicated issue, therefore in different cases, the definitions of “happiness,” “sucess,” “failure,” and “change” cannot come up so black and white?”

    Yes, human sexuality is complicated. And NARTH members use that fact to deceive people (and perhaps even themselves in some cases). They often claim “successful change” implying that it was a change in sexual orientation, when in fact it was not.

  • ken

    Teresa# ~ Oct 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    “Cut-to-the-chase, orientation change for gay men is seldom, if ever, possible. For gay women, change in orientation is sometimes possible … but, still relatively small. That’s the nuts-and-bolts of the issue.”

    No it is more that that Teresa. In the cases where there was actual change, was that change caused (or even influenced) by therapy, as NARTH, Exodus etc. claim. Or was this simply coincidental.

  • ken

    sam# ~ Oct 26, 2011 at 2:43 am

    “How do you know that people who run Narth are driven solely by religious belief and not professionalism? ”

    You are correct in challenging Teresa’s assertion that the people at NARTH are driven “solely by religious belief” as that is not clearly evident. However, they are certainly NOT driven by professionalism. That is clear from the way they misrepresent the facts.

  • sam

    I’ve read quite of few articles criticizing NARTH here, but the fact still remains that this organization is still around and SOCE is still available. I understand if people who don’t like it, instead of complaining to me, they should write a complaint to APA.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    NARTH selectively cites research that reinforces stereotypes and ignores research which implies the health and resiliency of homosexuals.

    They do more than this David, they not only misuse the results of other people’s research ( and they’ve been chastised for this numerous times) they continue to ignore the growing amount of data that seems to continually suggest their views are incorrect!

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    I’ve read quite of few articles criticizing NARTH here, but the fact still remains that this organization is still around

    The fact that they are still around means nothing.

  • Patrocles

    NARTH should in time have reinvented itself as a kind of study group, or experimental group – in a similar way as those groups of adventurous people which, in the fifties and sixties, experimented with ethnic drugs or with LSD and in a way promoted the development of science (e.g. Aldous Huxley).

    There seem to be some cases of real SOC. We always can claim that those people were “bisexual”, but it’s not good science implying such a factor “ad hoc” only to save one’s theory (all the more because “bisexuality” is an extremely vague concept and estimations about the frequency of bisexuals reach from 0 to 100 percent of the society).

    I don’t think that we can per definitionem claim that real “change” has to last over the whole span of life (we wouldn’t, with other kinds of change!). In particular,because older people tend to go back to their early ways, e.g. try to relive their youth.

    Probability tells that the human mind, in the end, gets what he wants. So I suppose that there will, some hundred years after our time, exist an effective “treatment” of homosexuality. Perhaps not psychoanalytical, perhaps (epi)genetical – epigenetics seems to be the newest fashion in science.

    But I think that the most promising strategy is to begin with the beginnings, i.e. with sexual activity. So far I’m still turning to Masters and Johnson (I didn’t know about Masters’ claims to have changed gays and don’t expect much from it).

  • Patrocles

    Imho, Nicolosi’s strength is in the field of phenomenology/symptomatics. There have been and will be people who read Nicolosi’s descriptions and feel: “That’s me.”

    He’s not so strong in etiology. But his explanation will remain in the market as long there’s no alternative explanation which is definitely stronger.. And as far as I see, there isn’t any.

  • Teresa

    In this regard our outrage at NARTH is important, but completely out of context.

    David Blakeslee … It is not completely out of context for this Post.

    To remain balanced, level-headed, as objective as possible, eliminating our many biases as much as possible … it’s a tough job, no matter where we find ourselves on the social/political/religious spectrum. It is plain that certain homosexuals cherry-pick data, focus on data that supports their particular view, etc. It’s equally plain that the opposite group (whatever we call that) does similar behavior.

    The topic of this thread is NARTH is NOT a scientific organization. It has members that do indeed work in the field with accredited degrees. However, if I’ve understood Warren correctly, 75% of its membership is not so accredited, in the sense of what this Organization is about. Its base membership is conservative Christian who clearly feel that homosexuality is a mental illness. To them, homosexuality should never have been removed from the DSM. They feel that we homosexuals are tainting the culture because we are diseased. We should either admit our illness, and seek SOCE therapy, or stay in the closet. I may be wrong on the latter count.

    I’m sure there are a number of good persons in NARTH. People who may actually care about us homosexuals … as what, I’m not quite sure. Nevertheless, they consider me, as a homosexual woman, a mentally ill woman. They care little about any of my life’s achievements, which may well outshine their’s in many ways.

    Since I don’t agree with this perspective, I simply stay away. I take what they say publicly, though; what they stand for in public rather personally … since, it’s ‘me’ they’re talking about. Their ‘agenda’, if they have one, (and I think they do), personally hurts me … in a variety of ways; not the least of which, wraps into taking away my civil liberties.

    We can all be more objective, less self-interested in topics when we’re not personally involved.

  • David Blakeslee

    Teresa,

    Well stated comment about the personal nature of this topic.

    All topics have a personal nature for someone.

    There are more allies available when we unite around common values of truth, authenticity, humility and curiosity…

    Allying by identity (Gay, Straight, Christian, Atheist, Liberal, Conservative) builds a powerful fortress…very helpful, a garrison is sufficient. Conquering terrain requires foot soldiers.

    Anger at science manipulated for political and social ends is a common bond…and allies are available on all sides, if we can resist the impulse to distort the way we collect data or interpret data.

    You can start with the Catholic Church and Galileo; we can make an important visit to Kinsey on Human Sexuality; we can remind ourselves of flawed genetic arguments for homosexuality; and we can confront flawed theories of distant father’s and enmeshing mothers…

    It is the same powerful sin (my word)…and it creates many victims. Let’s collect them into foot soldiers and in so doing expand our wound into compassion for others and righteous revolt.

  • ken

    David Blakeslee# ~ Oct 26, 2011 at 9:54 am

    “I would remind everyone of how aggressively Spitzer’s study of change was ridiculed by the advocacy community…clearly a secularist, and proven scientist.”

    Both anti and pro gay advocates ignored Spitzer’s conclusion in that study (“Change may be possible, but more research is needed”), and just focused on the parts they wanted.

    “You may want to look as Kinsey’s research on Human Sexuality for an example of harmful, biased research which was strongly distorted by his world view.”

    What harm was caused by Kinsey’s research?

    “In this regard our outrage at NARTH is important, but completely out of context.”

    I disagree that the outrage as NARTH is out of context. I find NARTH offensive, not simply because they are homophobic, but because they claim to be scientists yet they denigrate the concept how proper scientific research should be conducted.

  • StraightGrandmother

    David Blakeslee, I am trying to figure you out. I have to read and re-read what you write to figure it out, and I still don’t think I understand completely what your views are as you seem to pick on both sides with equal enthusiasm :)

    Using shorter words what are your world views on sexual minorities, their ability to change their sexual orientation, change their sexual behavior and how sexual minorities are treated under the civil laws and how they should be treated under civil laws. Notice I didn’t ask about your religious views.

  • Teresa

    Not answering for David Blakeslee, SG, there are really no sides that should be taken in this. What we seek, at least I do, is the ‘truth’. Pieces of it are to be found in both sides. So, we take what we can, from anywhere, and leave the rest.

    I don’t think life is an “either or” proposition. I don’t think life is about condemning, competing, confronting, conflicting or controlling … and, that’s what both sides are involved in … the extremes. It truly is about living, the ‘being’ … The Golden Rule. It’s about willing to see the ‘truth’ even when it hurts me, and my prejudices, and dearly held biases.

    For me, presently, it’s asking myself how would I like to be treated if I were Nicolosi, or some other supposedly ‘anti-gay’ group or person. That’s really hard for me, because I’m gay … and, I’m really sensitive about the issue. However, if I can get out of my own way; and, see these folks as just people, like me and you. They have cherished beliefs, like I do. Some of those beliefs are right, some wrong … just like mine. All I can possibly do is treat their arguments with respect; as much as I may disagree with them. The toughest part is to respect their view that I am mentally ill for just being same-sex attracted; however, much I’d like to scream “are you all nuts”.

    Civil liberties are involved with this. I don’t much like being fired, denied housing, etc., for just being gay. I believe some of these folks think that homosexuality is not in the venue of civil liberties. If we’d just closet ourselves, DADT, no one would deny us anything, ’cause they wouldn’t know. It’s a true statement, as far as it goes; but, it is essentially disrespectful and injurious. However, they have their freedom to say and use the policical system to achieve their agenda … and, what’s more, they do.

  • Patrocles

    Teresa,

    your concept of civil liberty is confused.

    The basic liberty is the liberty of contract, namely, that you haven’t to make a contract (work, housing contract) with someone if you don’t want to.

    So, if you tell people that they mustn’t take some aspects into account (skin colour, sexual orientation etc.), you are not enforcing liberty but limiting it in the name of equality.

    Looking at it from the other side: In the U.S. nobody has a basic right to get work or to live in a house. Even less can he claim to be occupied by a particular firm or to be housed by a particular hotel. So if you tell firms or hotels that they mustn’t take some aspects into account, you are not applying a general rule but making an exception from it (for the sake of particular groups).

    You may do it, but not in the name of liberty.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I agree with Patrocles. And the reason we limit your Liberty Rights to Discriminate agaisnt a class of people we view unfavorably is to provide Equality for Minorities. Minorities, who otherwise would never get an even chance at life as they do not have the numbers (by virtue of being a minority) to vote into our civil laws laws that are favorable to them as the majority is able to do.

    Remember the era where the newspapers would advertise for jobs and say in their ads, “No Irish” ? Remember those ads? In your own home if you don’t want any Irish you are free to do so, but in Public Accommodations and employment our Liberty Rights are constrained, it is against the law to Discriminate against the Irish do to their National Origin.

  • David Blakeslee

    SG

    Using shorter words what are your world views on sexual minorities, their ability to change their sexual orientation, change their sexual behavior and how sexual minorities are treated under the civil laws and how they should be treated under civil laws. Notice I didn’t ask about your religious views.

    Developing…:)

    I have posted in the past that I view sexual minorities like religious minorities…they are seeking to integrate sensations into meaningful systems to lead meaningful lives.

    I am anti-deterministic…freedom of thought and exploring change possibilities is inherent to human identity.

    Biological factors are interesting to me, but not determinative…drives of all kinds exist and are compelling; but frontal lobe modulation is demanded in all sorts of ways for those drives.

    Authenticity comes first…in love and faith. Loving falsely hurts us and others. Being dishonest with God does not help us trust Him more deeply.

    Political polarization rarely reveals lasting truths…or builds a lasting community.

  • Teresa

    Patrocles, perhaps you are right in noting that my views on civil liberties are confused. Liberty, however, subsists within an ethical framework of justice … it is not an unrestricted liberty; and, Government, which is a ‘good’ and not an ‘evil’ has as one of its primary ends to place those restrictions on liberty for the benefit of all.

    Contract Law is determined by the State in many of its intricasies, which State seeks to provide as much liberty to all, a boundaried liberty, after all. Those boundaries the State has a duty to recognize, discuss, and resolve … with the good of all, in mind.

    The heart of the matter for Liberty is the “freedom to do wrong” … how much can a society seeking to maintain its viability and integrity permit ‘evil’. And, what is ‘evil’, after all. The “freedom to do right” is never in question, in my estimation … however, it becomes essential under totalitarian regimes. But, here again, a Just Society seeks the following:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    This is the essential Contract the U.S. Government makes with its citizenry. That Contract continues to be a ‘living’ one.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa=

    Liberty, however, subsists within an ethical framework of justice … it is not an unrestricted liberty

    StraightGrandmother= WOW! What a way to craft a phrase, beautifully done Teresa.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa, I have been thinking about what you wrote and have come back to add a further thought. I have never thought of it the way you stated it. Frequently I do comment about Liberty, I think from now on I am going to pair that with your observation about “Justice.” I hadn’t thought about that before, the way you presented this was really thought provoking.

  • StraightGrandmother

    David Blakeslee I know you are trying but please try harder.

    DB=

    seeking to integrate sensations into meaningful systems to lead meaningful lives

    anti-deterministic

    frontal lobe modulation

    Political polarization

    StraightGrandmother= I can tell you are one of those cerebral types and I am sure that within your circles everyone understands what you are saying. But for the rest of us, can you break this down a little simpler? And I don’t know is a perfectly fine answer.

    On sexual minorities,

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation

    Their ability to change their sexual behavior

    How sexual minorities are treated under the civil laws

    How they should be treated under civil laws.

    Notice I didn’t ask about your religious views.

  • David Blakeslee

    SG

    On sexual minorities,

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation Yes (a minority, less than 30%, more women than men),

    Their ability to change their sexual behavior Bad Wording here…all people can change their sexual behavior

    How sexual minorities are treated under the civil laws Sometimes not an issue, as for religious minorities, as it is not as readily identified as gender or race. However, when it is identified it should not be a determining factor in secular employment, housing, education or parenting rights (not a comprehensive list).

    How they should be treated under civil laws. Is this redundant?

    Notice I didn’t ask about your religious views. Well, this is a blog that invites this intersection of faith, values and public policy; value systems and meaning systems organize all of us.

  • Jayhuck

    Pat -

    So if you tell firms or hotels that they mustn’t take some aspects into account, you are not applying a general rule but making an exception from it (for the sake of particular groups).

    You may do it, but not in the name of liberty.

    This is true but it deserves more explanation – or definition I suppose. This involves Equality more than Liberty. In order to ensure equal treatment of people, occasionally people’s freedom to treat people or groups any way they want must be curtailed. We curtail these “liberties” all the time to ensure our safety.

  • Jayhuck

    David,

    It is the same powerful sin (my word)…and it creates many victims. Let’s collect them into foot soldiers and in so doing expand our wound into compassion for others and righteous revolt.

    Well said :)

  • Jayhuck

    Pat -

    Imho, Nicolosi’s strength is in the field of phenomenology/symptomatics. There have been and will be people who read Nicolosi’s descriptions and feel: “That’s me.”

    Probably, but people do this all the time when they try and diagnose themselves using the internet. Sometimes, perhaps, oftentimes, they are wrong about their diagnosis. I think its a common problem people have when looking at a list of symptoms for any “illness” – they see themselves having most of the symptoms then automatically assume they have the “illness”.

  • Teresa

    David Blakeslee:<blockquoteOn sexual minorities,

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation Yes (a minority, less than 30%, more women than men),David, is the percentage really that high? How does John Smid’s, Michael Bussee’s, Brian Pengelly’s experience fit in with the percentage you’ve shown?

    If, indeed, the figure you’ve presented is that ‘high’ … and, high it is, from the little I’ve read … NARTH, et. al., seem to be correct in their statements that promote ‘a third’ change orientation.

    Could you elaborate a bit more on this? What study confirms your statement, for example.

  • Teresa

    My prior comment is a mess. Here it is in better form.

    David Blakeslee:

    On sexual minorities,

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation Yes (a minority, less than 30%, more women than men),

    David, is the percentage really that high? How does John Smid’s, Michael Bussee’s, Brian Pengelly’s experience fit in with the percentage you’ve shown?

    If, indeed, the figure you’ve presented is that ‘high’ … and, high it is, from the little I’ve read … NARTH, et. al., seem to be correct in their statements that promote ‘a third’ change orientation.

    Could you elaborate a bit more on this? What study confirms your statement, for example.

  • StraightGrandmother

    David Blakeslee, I am glad I asked you to break it down for me. Now at least I am understanding you.

    David Blakeslee =

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation Yes (a minority, less than 30%, more women than men),

    StraightGrandmother= Really you think it is that high a percentage? You think that 30% of all gay men or lesbian women can change to completely heterosexual?

    I made a fatal error when asking my question and I have been around here long enough that I know better, shame on me. I should have defined change as going from completely homosexual to completely heterosexual.

    SG= Their ability to change their sexual behavior DB= Bad Wording here…all people can change their sexual behavior

    David, I don’t think everyone can change their sexual behavior. I know I could never feel aroused by a woman and “be” with one. FYI I am heterosexual. I could not change my sexual behavior. Do you really think everyone can change their sexual behavior from one sex to a different one? I suppose if I had a gun at my head I could do it but other than that, I can’t change my sexual behavior.

    How sexual minorities are treated under the civil laws?

    StraightGrandmother= I see discrimination, don’t you?

    How should they be treated under civil laws?

    I think you will say that they should be treated Equally in all ways to heterosexuals, but I’ll wait for you to say that.

  • David Blakeslee

    Less than 30% is meant to be read as “less than”…perhaps as little as 15%. Probably women make up as much as 2/3rds of this “total change.”

    Less than 30% is not 1/3rd.

    Warren argues that those who change are actually Bi-sexual (more likely for women than men)…I think this is a guess by Warren.

    Please remember that the J&Y study only assesses religiously motivated change without psychotherapy…and it is the best study to date.

    How does John Smid’s, Michael Bussee’s, Brian Pengelly’s experience fit in with the percentage you’ve shown?

    It seems to fit with the majority of experiences of those who hope to change their sexual orientation. So glad they have spoken up here and elsewhere.

  • David Blakeslee

    SG:

    David, I don’t think everyone can change their sexual behavior. I know I could never feel aroused by a woman and “be” with one. FYI I am heterosexual. I could not change my sexual behavior. Do you really think everyone can change their sexual behavior from one sex to a different one? I suppose if I had a gun at my head I could do it but other than that, I can’t change my sexual behavior.

    If you were in an oppressive society that demeaned and devalued your sexual attractions you might explore what kind of change was possible. You might settle for a dissatisfying, but safe and secure relationship with a woman to fit in and succeed.

    Of course I think people an change their behavior…”all people,” no. Changing behavior is not the same as changing attractions.

  • StraightGrandmother

    DB, I think we are talking past each other. My question was not looking at the sub-set of extremely religious gay men and lesbian women, but the whole population of them, if you think they can change their sexual orientation from completely homosexual to completely heterosexual. I know you can’t believe that 30% of the whole gay and lesbian population has it within their control to flip, do you?

    Did you read the whole Jones Yarhouse study? I have been thinking of buying it.

    I try to keep an open mind and learn, especially since I am straight, in other words I have my own suspicions, but am willing to check those and try and get to the real truth. I read about sexual orientation change on many different web sites. I even read the entire American Psychological Association report on the correct therapeutic response to Sexual Orientation Change Efforts, and I can’t go along with even 15% of- 100% gay flips to 100% heterosexual. I think it is much rarer than that.

    I am thinking if the seekers keep going to “religious group” for the rest of their lives they might be able to change their behavior and lead a heterosexual looking life, but it is very rare for people to totally flip and never have a homosexual thought again. Just my opinion.

    I thank you for responding to me on my level, as really most of the time I don’t understand what you write. Oh wait did you answer my 2 seperate questions on how sexual minorities are treated now and should be treated under our civil laws?

    David B =

    If you were in an oppressive society that demeaned and devalued your sexual attractions you might explore what kind of change was possible. You might settle for a dissatisfying, but safe and secure relationship with a woman to fit in and succeed.

    StraightGrandmother= Maybe some people would but not me. I am a pretty strong woman. I would stand up against the status quo as I have low social dependency.

  • Throbert McGee

    To bring up a question I’ve raised before: Has NARTH ever published case histories of clients who were NOT successful at changing their orientation? Or of clients who were referred elsewhere early on because the clinicians at NARTH had some sort of vaguely scientific methodology for predicting which clients were likely to be poor candidates for successful SOCE?

    I would say that non-quack researchers tend to be very keenly interested in understanding why some individuals are less responsive to a given therapy than other individuals, and are eager to share “failure” results with other researchers so that they can all compare notes and improve the quality of the therapy.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    TM – I know of no cases like that. And you are correct about legitimate practitioners.

  • Throbert McGee

    There have been and will be people who read Nicolosi’s descriptions and feel: “That’s me.”

    He’s not so strong in etiology. But his explanation will remain in the market as long there’s no alternative explanation which is definitely stronger.

    Nicolosi’s explanation will remain in the market for the same reason that homeopathic medicines do: Because it’s difficult to prove that the treatment, however dubious, is actively harmful; and because — if y’all will forgive the rude paraphrasing of P.T. Barnum — there’s a c**ksucker born every minute.

    Nicolosi and others like him will be around as long as there are unhappy homosexuals just waiting to be bilked.

  • sam

    Based on the link I provided, I would yes, Narth has made reports about their failures as much as about their successes.

  • Jayhuck

    Sam,

    Based on the link I provided, I would yes, Narth has made reports about their failures as much as about their successes.

    That may be, but when people who have done the research say that NARTH has misrepresented their findings, I don’t see NARTH issuing apologies. Perhaps I’ve missed them?

  • Jayhuck

    Robert -

    Nicolosi and others like him will be around as long as there are unhappy homosexuals just waiting to be bilked.

    That is true! He is very near a snake oil salesmen for people who are “unhappy”.

  • Jayhuck

    salesman :)

  • Jayhuck

    David, SGM,

    Less than 30% is meant to be read as “less than”…perhaps as little as 15%. Probably women make up as much as 2/3rds of this “total change.”

    These percentages baffle me. Why is it that I hear the 11% figure quoted most often?

  • Teresa

    David B.,

    Less than 30% is meant to be read as “less than”…perhaps as little as 15%. Probably women make up as much as 2/3rds of this “total change.”

    Jayhuck:

    These percentages baffle me. Why is it that I hear the 11% figure quoted most often?

    I’m, also, baffled, Jayhuck. I realize David B., 30% is not 1/3; but, it is close enough to be rounded up that way. When I asked where you got those figures, David, you cited the J&Y Study … then, indicated that maybe the majority of this less than 30% … (which could be any number … 5%, 11%, 4%, 20%) probably were ‘bisexual’.

    I am as confused as Jayhuck about this figure of “less than 30%” ‘changed to str8′. David B., your original statement to SGM:

    On sexual minorities,

    Their ability to change their sexual orientation Yes (a minority, less than 30%, more women than men),

    sounded pretty much what NARTH would state. No qualifiers, no hesitation … only NARTH would probably ramp the less than 30% to state what I did … 1/3 of gays can change to str8.

    I know this sounds rather picky, David B., but there’s a whale of a difference between the experiences of John Smid, Michael Bussee, Brian Pengally … all conservative Christians (at one time) who worked for years, with hundreds, if not more, gays … and the statement … they’ve never seen 1 gay change to str8.

    How do I as a gay woman, not in ministry, not a researcher wrap my head around figures that are not even close to each other … both from ‘credible’ sources? How do I equate 0% to less than 30% … which means 29%, 28%, 27%, etc. .. a figure nowhere near 0%, or Jayhuck’s 11%. In fact, the figure I most commonly have heard for men is single-digits, and for women, maybe … 10-20%.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa, I don’t think you are being picky, like me you are trying to understand. I also think that there needs to be qualifiers when numbers are presented. Something like

    0.01% of highly religious homosexual men who regularly attended religious support group meetings for 7 years were able to change their sexual identity and sexual orientation from completely homosexual to completely heterosexual. (I just made up the number 0.01% as an example)

    Then say the same thing for women and give the numbers.

    Another example could read-

    5% of highly religious homosexual men who regularly attended religious support group meetings for 7 years were able to change their sexual identity from completely homosexual to completely heterosexual .

    They changed their sexual orientation from completely homosexual to heterosexual, with occasional homosexual thoughts and desires which did not cause them distress and they did not act on. (I just made up the number 5% as an example) I think that looking at gay porn and pleasuring yourself with gay porn knocks you out of the heterosexuality category.

    Another example could read-

    10% of highly religious Bi-sexual men whose thoughts and actions leaned more towards the homosexual side of the spectrum and who regularly attended religious support group meetings for 7 years were able to change blah blah blah. etc. etc.

    This is the kind of language that is easy to understand. I also think that, and this is going to get a little bit graphic, that by heterosexual that means that a man gets an erection just by looking at his wife. It doesn’t count to be called heterosexual if your wife has to “get you going.” Straight heterosexual men get spontaneous erections all the time without needing to get the pump primed first. If you are a wife and you always have to prime the pump first, that is not very sexually fulfilling. We want to know that we turn our men on, in other words we want to be sexually desired by our husbands and we verify this by their erections.

    Also I think not having sex regularly kind of knocks you out of the heterosexual category. If the men have spontaneous erections and have intercourse with their wives at least once at a minimum of every 2 weeks that is heterosexual. This knocks out the claim to heterosexuality where the couple is only having intercourse twice a year. Twice a year is asexual, not heterosexual. Well maybe for frequency of intercourse you just look at other studies of heterosexual couples and use that data as the standard. In other words, having no sex, neither hetro or homo, does not count you as heterosexual just because you refrained from homosexual sex.

    If the research was reported in this manner it would be easy to understand. Teresa I am with you. Researchers should be more clear and precise, and even people who comment here. Also I think to have a fair research project you have to survey the heterosexual spouse. As the sexual minority may think s/he has conquered the gay thing, but going from gay to straight necessitates another person, the straight spouse. Otherwise you simply have celibacy. The convert may report that they are happy and fulfilled in their sex life and the spouse may report that it is fulfilling also, or unfulfilling. What if 90% of the spouses reported that they feel sexually deprived? Would we consider these conversions to be a success if their wives were sexually unfulfilled? In other words there are 2 sides to every story. Just surveying the homosexual or bi-sexual convert does not present the whole story.

  • David Blakeslee

    Teresa,

    How do I as a gay woman, not in ministry, not a researcher wrap my head around figures that are not even close to each other … both from ‘credible’ sources? How do I equate 0% to less than 30% … which means 29%, 28%, 27%, etc. .. a figure nowhere near 0%, or Jayhuck’s 11%. In fact, the figure I most commonly have heard for men is single-digits, and for women, maybe … 10-20%.

    Well, here is where my anger arises. Because you deserve support and accurate information (my use of numbers seems to have inflamed things, my apologies: please hear a minority change, probably a small minority, mostly that small minority is women, men change even less in orientation; We do not know what causes the change).

    The APA is a scientific organization that historical has been skeptical of religion and religious practice. Once they decided that homosexuality was not a mental illness they stopped studying if, when and how people change.

    That allowed propagandists of all sorts to flood in (GLBT and GLSEN; FOTF and NARTH) exaggerating pet perspectives for political purposes.

    When researchers returned (cf. Spitzer, Bailey) and found some interesting things, they were excoriated.

    You are worth making this courageous journey and whatever you discover, I support you.

    I wish for a scientific curiosity about religiously motivated change in general (not just homosexuality).

    I wish for churches who are welcoming and unconcerned with your sexual orientation.

    Please note that this conversation is based upon SG’s wish to know things about me, which I wanted to respond to respectfully. She wanted to know particulars when I made this statement:

    Anger at science manipulated for political and social ends is a common bond…and allies are available on all sides, if we can resist the impulse to distort the way we collect data or interpret data.

    You can start with the Catholic Church and Galileo; we can make an important visit to Kinsey on Human Sexuality; we can remind ourselves of flawed genetic arguments for homosexuality; and we can confront flawed theories of distant father’s and enmeshing mothers…

    It is the same powerful sin (my word)…and it creates many victims. Let’s collect them into foot soldiers and in so doing expand our wound into compassion for others and righteous revolt.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      David – Thanks for your points above. I wish for similar things. You and I left NARTH for at least one reason in common: they refused to deal with new evidence and were/are closed to go where the evidence leads. And thanks Teresa that you keep asking interesting and important questions.

  • Teresa

    David -

    Let’s start anew, here. My apologies for pursuing this topic to a point of polarization and hurt feelings … that is not my intention.

    David, you bring to this Blog, at least to me, an importance based on profession, experience, faith belief, courage of conviction in living that faith, and a sense of the ‘via media’. I respect these qualities, a lot. So, David, when you comment, your comments bear a certain ‘weight’ of carrying, dare I say, virtues, to this forum. Mine, do not … not in the same sense, at all.

    I am a single, gay woman whose faith belief charts my course in life. I look to this Blog for ‘truth’ in science and fact about sexuality; and, also, just as importantly, to learn to ‘hear’ with my heart and not just my head … to do unto others, as I would have them do unto me. It appears I’ve failed in this latter regard in this thread, David.

  • ken

    I’d like to clear up what I believe are some misunderstands about scientific research and how scientific knowledge is advanced, esp. in cases of psychology and medicine (where it is MUCH harder to control the variables than say physics or chemistry). The scientific knowledge doesn’t really advance in leaps and bounds, but rather small steps.

    This Jones/Yarhouse study is such a small, 1st step (I’m pretty sure this study is the first one to study long-term effects of attempts to change orientation). It is not perfect (no study is), but hopefully, it will lead to many other steps (i.e. more research into this topic), that will lead to a greater understanding of the effects of attempting to change sexual orientation.

    As an example many here may be familiar with, current research shows that children raised by gay parents are generally just as well adjusted as those raised by straight parents. Now, there is no SINGLE study that proved this conclusion. However, there has been a whole body of research in this area that supports it. Each study a bit different with somewhat different results. Yet we are able to look at ALL of those results and see what things each study found to be the same and what was different and perhaps why they were different. And from these results, reach a fairly reliable conclusion.

    Back to the Jones/Yarhouse study, perhaps, someone will see this paper and think “I don’t think the SCL-90-R is a good way to measure psychological distress”, so they’ll repeat the study using a different measure. Or someone may want to study people who try to change while working with an licensed/accredited counselor. Or use a different measure for change, perhaps to better measure if the change is in behaviour, identity or orientation. Or something else. And if these studies are well designed, each will help to advance our knowledge about SOCE. Now, I would like to see a lot more research done in this area. And I would HOPE that others who would as well, want it for the proper purpose of helping people who are distressed about their sexual orientation and NOT for the purpose of pushing their own political agenda.

  • Jayhuck

    This is just my opinion, but I’ve felt for a long time that if gay rights/gay marriage were a non-issue, if the same rights that were extended to straight couples in terms of marriage and family were extended to gay couples, that the scientific progress in this area would proceed at a faster clip. If there are no political agendas to advance (on either side), then there would seem to be less reason to fight such research. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be opposition, but I *do* believe there would be far less of it :)

  • StraightGrandmother

    Thank you David Blakeslee, You are now writing in a way that I can understand you. I totally did not get any of your points of view before.

    I totally agree with Jayhuck. Actually the ONLY reason I even came to this website was to see if it was true or not that sexual minorities can change their sexual orientation, because the answer to this question is then used politically to either

    a) Yes they can change their sexual orientation so we should deny them Equal Civil Rights because they can be like the rest of us if they tried hard enough.

    b) No they can’t change, once gay always gay, so it is wrong to deny Equal Civil Rights to persons who have an immutable characteristic they are born with.

    The only reason I was ever interested in the first place was because of the political importance of the answer to that question. I don’t have any skin in the game, I know nobody who is gay that doesn’t want to not be gay. So Jaychuck is right. If sexual minorities had full equal civil rights and were added onto every single law that bars discrimination I would not even be here. The research probably would flourish because it would be for the right reasons, advancement of science to benefit sexual minorities, and not for the wrong reasons (politics).

    Ken, thanks for that little lesson. I did not know how research in psychology and medicine works, thanks. So I guess I won’t be seeing that one nice research project that ties everything up in a nice bow like I suggested above, huh?

  • William

    StraightGrandmother, there is just one point on which I must disagree with you. I don’t myself believe that anyone can change their sexual orientation at will, although it seems clear that changes of this kind do occasionally take place of their own accord (far more often in women than in men). However, I don’t think that the case for equal civil rights depends on immutability. People can change their religious affiliation, for example, but that doesn’t provide any excuse for denying equal civil rights to any religious group. Even if it could be shown that some people had deliberately chosen to be gay and could therefore choose to change (and I’m not aware of knowing anyone in this category), that still would not be a justification for discriminating against them.

    I know nobody who is gay that doesn’t want to not be gay.

    Taken literally, word for word, that means, “Everybody I know who is gay wants not to be gay.” Is that really what you meant to write?

  • StraightGrandmother

    William, er no, that is not what I wanted to say. Let me try again. All the people who I know that are gay, are happy being gay and they do not want to change to heterosexual.

    I use the word immutability because that is the term used in our Courts and legal briefs, and I try to read all legal briefs on all court cases related to Equal Civil Rights for sexual minorities.

    Here this is very good paragraph Balkin’s (1997, p. 2365- 2366) on the relevance of the immutability criterion:

    “[A]nalyzing discrimination in terms of status groups … helps us understand our objections to discrimination … Discrimination against blacks, for example, is not unjust simply because race is an immutable characteristic. Focusing on immutability per se confuses biological with sociological considerations. It confuses the physical existence of the trait with what the trait means in a social system … The question is not whether a trait is immutable, but whether there has been a history of using the trait to create a system of social meanings, or define a social hierarchy, that helps dominate and oppress people. Any conclusions about the importance of immutability already presuppose a view about background social structure.”

    The Courts will look at laws that disadvantage a “suspect” class of people with higher and higher levels of scrutiny, especially if the class is derived from an immutable trait. It would take me long time to write this all out this is a pretty good explanation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspect_classification

    Here is another good article on the court cases and the level of Judicial Review the Judges used.

    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/conlaw/2011/08/whats-rational-about-rational-basis-review-same-sex-marriage-litigation-in-perspective.html

    I have an easier, far easier time, reading law briefs than reading psychological research, LOL. William it seems that immutability is important in our judicial system which is why the psychological research on, if people can change, becomes very important to both sides. Personally I am with you, even if people do choose to be gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender why should it be that our laws Discriminate against them?

    In Lawrence vs. Texas (2003) which struck down Texas’ sodomy laws the Supreme Court said that homosexual sex is protected under our Constitution, our Liberty rights to do whatever we want as long as we are not harming anybody, our privacy rights. So I do not get how sexual minorities, participating in an activity that is constitutionally protected, can be discriminated against in other laws? In other words, the “trait” that makes them a member of a class that laws discriminate against, is a “trait” that is Constitutionally Protected.

    Why are we even putting Civil Rights of sexual minorities up for a vote as I believe, and I think the Courts will rule that they already have Equality to heterosexuals based on due process in the 5th Amendment and Equal Protection in the 14th Amendment.

    The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.[1] The Equal Protection Clause can be seen as an attempt to secure the promise of the United States’ professed commitment to the proposition that “all men are created equal”[2] by empowering the judiciary to enforce that principle against the states.[3]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Protection_Clause

    But then other people disagree with me and think that it is better to win politically (voting), that way you win over the people instead of forcing them to stop their discrimination because you won in Court. But to me winning in Court simply means that the Discrimination is Constitutionally wrong and it is final. Can you imagine how long it will take Texas to vote for civil marriage for sexual minorities, or Mississippi? We don’t vote on heterosexual marriages why should heterosexuals get to vote oh sexual minorities marriages? It is not fair to me.

    This is why immutability, can they change or can’t they is so important. If gays can’t change to str8, then they are a Suspect Class (I believe they meet the other additional criteria for Suspect Class) and the laws that disadvantage them must meet a very high level of reason for the law. The Courts using Strict Scrutiny (the highest level of Scrutiny) say that a law, if it is disadvantaging a group of people who have historically been discriminated against (Suspect Class) is only legal if it meets a compelling government need and the need can’t be met in any other way than this law, which is hurting a class of people who have historically been discriminated against.

    This is quite a long explanation of why I am here on this website and why I try so hard to understand the research of sexual minorities ability to change their sexual orientation.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Reading end of year round up stories on various GLBT websites and blogs I frequent. Jeremy Hopper on Good As You has an article on Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council (a designated HATE GROUP via the Southern Poverty Law Center)

    FRC’s Peter Sprig says he would rather Export people who are gay than Import them. sigh…

    The Good As You Website has the article and video

    http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2011/12/yes-peter-sprigg-disagrees-with-us-disagrees-with-our-right-to-not-be-exportedcriminalized-spriggfrc-be4marriage.html

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