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01/18/2011

More on those CornerStone Policy Research 'Helpful Links'

by Jeremy Hooper

So you know how we've been telling you (and New Hampshire lawmakers) about the "ex-gay" advocacy that New Hampshire's chief public policy organization, Cornerstone Policy Research, has posted under the "helpful links" section of its website? Yea, well -- there's been an interesting development.

Today, CPR abruptly changed the site from this...

6A00D8341C503453Ef0148C756Dbb1970C

...to this:

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 3.31.20 Pm
[Current page]

The changes struck us as weird and arbitrary. Because why did they remove Courage, the Catholic "ex-gay" organization? Everyone knows that CPR's big partner, the National Organization For Marriage, is a largely Catholic organization. Wouldn't Courage be the one they'd most want to keep?

But what caught our attention even more was the removal of The Journal Of Human Sexuality, mainly because it was the one link we didn't mention at all. Frankly, we didn't mention it because, by name alone, the link didn't ring any sort of bell. And we were so focused on the other, more obvious "ex-gay" advocacy that we didn't really investigate this one further. We just accepted that JHS was some sort of "pro-family" organization, and let it go.

However, one only need to look at an archived copy of the JHS link to see exactly why CPR would want to scrub it from their rec list:

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 3.42.39 Pm
[Internet Archive: JHS]

Yes, that's right: JHS was (is?) a George Rekers outlet. Yes, that George Rekers:

Christian right leader George Rekers takes vacation with "rent boy" [News Times]

Can't believe we never made the connection before!. But beyond that: Can't believe CPR didn't make enough a connection between their cause and its beneficial allies to keep Reker's publication off the "helpful links" list front he get-go!

Right, so where does this leave things now? Well, we're at a place where New Hampshire's most financed, well-connected socially conservative political group...

Screen Shot 2011-01-18 At 11.49.01 Am
CPR prez Kevin Smith with NOM's Maggie Gallagher
and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum
[SOURCE:
CPR 2010 banquet]

...has clearly seen/heard what we've had to say about their "helpful" gay views, yet is still choosing to push the very same scientifically-rejected "research" out to its followers (the list is now 100% made up of exclusive "ex-gay" advocacy). They may have thrown Rekers off the bus and dropped Courage -- but they, the state's chief opponent of civil marriage equality, are still demonstrating a stubborn insistence on changing not only the state's marriage laws, but also gay human beings' sexual orientations. In fact, this change would actually seem to make it worse, since it shows they know what's being said about their links and the offensive anti-science surrounding them -- they just don't care.

***

*UPDATE: CPR just updated again, this time removing Focus on the Family from the Love Won Out Link (FoTF passed on the program last year). An accurate change -- but not one that alters the anti-science reality that CPR is still calling "helpful."

A reminder of just how roundly rejected "ex-gay" therapy is:

American Medical Association: "opposes, the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation"
AMA Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation [AMA]
***
American Counseling Association Ethics Committee: "Clients may ask for a specific treatment from a counseling professional because they have heard about it from either their religious community or from popular culture. A counselor, however, only provides treatment that is scientifically indicated to be effective or has a theoretical framework supported by the profession. Otherwise, counselors inform clients that the treatment is "unproven" or "developing" and provide an explanation of the "potential risks and ethical considerations of using such techniques/procedures and take steps to protect clients from possible harm" (Standard C.6.e., "Scientific Bases for Treatment Modalities").

Considering all the above deliberation, the ACA Ethics Committee strongly suggests that ethical professional counselors do not refer clients to someone who engages in conversion therapy or, if they do, to proceed cautiously only when they are certain that the referral counselor fully informs clients of the unproven nature of the treatment and the potential risks and takes steps to minimize harm to clients (also see Standard A.2.b., "Types of Information Needed"). This information also must be included in written informed consent material by those counselors who offer conversion therapy despite ACA's position and the Ethics Committee's statement in opposition to the treatment. To do otherwise violates the spirit and specifics of the ACA Code of Ethics."

Exploring ethical issues related to conversion or reparative therapy [ACA]
***
American Academy of Pediatrics: "The terms reparative therapy and sexual orientation conversion therapy refer to counseling and psychotherapy aimed at eliminating or suppressing homosexuality. The most important fact about these “therapies” is that they are based on a view of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major mental health professions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,6 published by the American Psychiatric Association, which defines the standards of the field, does not include homosexuality. All other major health professional organizations have supported the American Psychiatric Association in its declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973. Thus, the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation
among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

The idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations.

Despite the general consensus of major medical, health, and mental health professions that both heterosexuality and homosexuality are normal expressions of human sexuality, efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy have been adopted by some political and religious organizations and aggressively promoted to the public. However, such efforts have serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.

Because of the aggressive promotion of efforts to change sexual orientation through therapy, a number of medical, health, and mental health professional organizations have issued public statements about the dangers of this approach. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 480,000 mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus is not something that needs to or can be “cured.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises youth that counseling may be helpful for you if you feel confused about your sexual identity. Avoid any treatments that claim to be able to change a person’s sexual orientation, or treatment ideas that see homosexuality as a sickness.
"
Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth [APP]
***
The American Psychological Association: The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution Wednesday stating that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

The "Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts" also advises that parents, guardians, young people and their families avoid sexual orientation treatments that portray homosexuality as a mental illness or developmental disorder and instead seek psychotherapy, social support and educational services "that provide accurate information on sexual orientation and sexuality, increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth."
The approval, by APA's governing Council of Representatives, came at APA's annual convention, during which a task force presented a report that in part examined the efficacy of so-called "reparative therapy," or sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

"Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation," said Judith M. Glassgold, PsyD, chair of the task force. "Scientifically rigorous older studies in this area found that sexual orientation was unlikely to change due to efforts designed for this purpose. Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions." Glassgold added: "At most, certain studies suggested that some individuals learned how to ignore or not act on their homosexual attractions. Yet, these studies did not indicate for whom this was possible, how long it lasted or its long-term mental health effects. Also, this result was much less likely to be true for people who started out only attracted to people of the same sex."

Based on this review, the task force recommended that mental health professionals avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts when providing assistance to people distressed about their own or others' sexual orientation.
"
Insufficient Evidence that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says [American Psychological Association]
***

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