Jon S. Cardin is a badass. Here’s the scoop: earlier in the month Cardin announced he was submitting a bill that would ban gay-conversion therapy in the state. Christopher Doyle, founder of the International Healing Foundation (which ironically uses tactics that the American Psychological Association has said have the opposite effect of healing) went public with his disapproval.
In a March 25 statement, the International Healing Foundation accused Cardin of making “defamatory statements” about its work.
“Cardin’s statements regarding our work with those who experience unwanted SSA [same-sex attraction] is equivalent to discrimination,” said Christopher Doyle, the foundation’s director. “It is outrageous that a state-elected official would discourage, or believe it’s a problem, for a sexual minority population to pursue a therapy that is both legal and ethical,” Doyle said.
So Cardin went public as well with the following open letter:
RE: International Healing Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom
Open Letter to Mr. Christopher Doyle:
In response to your recent statements regarding my efforts to limit reparative therapy in the state of Maryland, I welcome the opportunity to justify my position and challenge your accusations that my actions are politically motivated. In your statement, you claim that your foundation has helped thousands of individuals “struggling with sexual orientation” and that it serves as a “beacon of hope in Maryland and around the world helping individuals conflicted about their sexual orientation.”
From the information I have gleaned from your website and other propaganda, your organization has one purpose: to teach people that being gay is wrong and to profit off of the ignorance of those who agree with you. You think you’re treating mental illnesses. In reality you very well may be creating them while traumatizing teenagers and others by promoting the arcane idea that any sexual orientation or gender identity besides heterosexuality is something that needs to be fixed.
You claim you are embracing these individuals who come to you for help with respect and love, but you are denying liability for further stigmatizing a community that should be accepted for who they are. Might it be misguided approaches like yours that make LGBTQ youth attempt suicide at a rate of four times higher than their straight peers? Might it be because of your philosophy that we still have not achieved equal rights for all Marylanders regardless of sexual orientation or identity?
I introduced HB91, a bill banning ex-gay therapy, because I firmly believe that no one should be afraid to be who they are, and that homosexuality and gender identity are neither choices nor illnesses. You believe that LGBTQ youth are inherently sinful, unclean, and immoral. Because of the irreparable harm your foundation causes children, I am proudly working with Equality Maryland, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Trevor Project, Truth Wins Out, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and others to revoke the medical license of anyone who treats sexual identity as an illness. What we learned through the legislative process is that these therapies by licensed practitioners are likely a violation of the standard of care as defined by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other medical associations. And therefore, Maryland regulations give licensing boards the authority to sanction those who practice said substandard therapies.
I respect and will defend your right to believe what you want to believe and practice medicine meeting recognized standards of care. However, you do not have a right to inflict a lifetime of serious psychological damage on children by preaching false science disguised as medicine. I welcome any investigations you or your lawyers wish to pursue.
Jon S. Cardin
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