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Conservatives desperate to hide 'ex-gay' therapy's truth

by Jeremy Hooper

With laws barring licensed therapists from pushing scientifically discredited "ex-gay" therapy onto minor patients already going into effect in both California and New Jersey, and with bipartisan teams of lawmakers in other states moving forward with their own bills, social conservatives who have long denied on the junk science in order to justify their "love the sinner, hate the sin" stances are getting really crafty with how they address the doomed snake oil at the center of the debate. Like check out how Joseph Backholm of the Family Policy Institute of Washington headlines his take on a bill that just passed out of his state's House by a whopping 94-4 margin:

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 At 5.34.02 Am

"Life Change Therapy"? I mean, I guess so, considering the whole "ex-gay" charade involves telling vulnerable people that their lives are broken and that they must use some method (usually religion) to "cure" themselves of their truths. In that sense, sure, this is a ban on the wanton rejection of certain kinds of lives.

But obviously Backholm is using the phrase "life change therapy" in a positive way. He's trying to make it sound like this is social good, like smoking cessation or grief therapy. In both the headline and subsequent post, which is filled with phrases like "the rights to seek the kind of counseling they want," Backholm's hoping to hide the ugly truth about a form of "therapy" that is no more credible than "curing" left-handedness. He's calling it "life change therapy" because the more truthful "pray away the gay" would be too honest, and we all know that honesty is not the "ex-gay" proponents' strong suit.

Fortunately, the 94–4 vote is further demonstration of just how fully folks like Backholm are failing at their mission of duping the good public. It's just a shame they did it before so many great lives were dangerously, and all-too-often disastrously, changed. By "therapy."

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