Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Petition to rehear California ban on reorientation therapy for minors misstates the science

English: Gender symbols, sexual orientation: h...
The background of this litigation is less important than the arguments being made against California's ban of so-called reparative "therapy" for minors. The complete filing is below. Briefly, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an injunction barring enforcement of California's law. This is a petition  to have the matter reheard by the entire bench which will probably be denied.

An interesting side note is medical insurance coverage. In banning this practice relegating it to faith healers the legislature has removed it from reimbursable medical service. The economics play a role in this issue. But let's get to the crackpottery in their filing:

Homosexuality and same-sex attraction are among the most hotly debated national issues of our time. Into this arena, the California Legislature injected itself with unabashed preference for the viewpoint that sexual orientation is not changeable. In so doing, they grasped at straws to claim the high ground in the argument. They announced a compelling interest, which was completely disregarded by the panel opinion. And they sought to make far more out of the available research than can be adduced.
The only reason that sexual orientation is a subject of debate is because Christian fundamentalists refuse to accept the irrefutable science. This does not constitute a "viewpoint." "Smoking causes lung cancer" is not a point of view. It is established fact. So is the fact that sexual orientation is innate and immutable. Ever reputable medical and counseling organization agrees. The idea that this is "grasping a straws" is plainly preposterous.
The record strongly supports the District Court’s findings. Chief among the State’s evidence is the 2009 APA Task Force Report. E.R. at 143. Among its more illuminating passages in this regard, the Report states:
[T]here is a dearth of scientifically sound research on the safety of SOCE. Early and recent research studies provide no clear indication of the prevalence of harmful outcomes among people who have undergone efforts to change their sexual orientation or the frequency of occurrence of harm because no study to date of adequate scientific rigor has been explicitly designed to do so. Thus, we cannot conclude how likely it is that harm will occur from SOCE. E.R. 192 
In summarizing itself, the Report concludes, “We concluded that research on SOCE (psychotherapy, mutual self-help groups, religious techniques) has not answered basic questions of whether it is safe or effective and for whom.... [R]esearch into harm and safety is essential.” E.R. at 240.
Do these people believe that everyone is stupid?

What the APA has concluded is that it cannot ascertain that this "therapy" is safe and effective because its proponents have never submitted verifiable data to serious investigation and review with any degree of scientific integrity. It is absent from mainstream peer reviewed literature published in respected scholarly journal.

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