Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Staver tortures truth and logic regarding NJ ban on reparative therapy for minors

Mat Staver - Liberty Counsel
Last Friday a federal judge in Camden dismissed Liberty Counsel's suit (Tara King et al v. Christie) attempting to overturn New Jersey's ban on sexual orientation change counseling for minors. I wrote an analysis on Saturday while providing a copy of the rather lengthy opinion. Needless to say, Mat Staver, head of Liberty Counsel, is not happy.

According to American Family Association's blog, Staver claims:
This law infringes on the client's right to receive information regarding change and the counselor's right to be able to provide that kind of information that the client seeks. It's exactly and only focused on the content and specifically the viewpoint of speech.
The court ruled, with a lengthy written analysis, that talk therapy is conduct in contrast to speech. Moreover, the court found a rational basis for the law based on the science and the overwhelming opinion of experts. Patients may seek all manner of treatments that reputable healthcare professionals will not provide. Moreover, in this instance, there is no way to separate a child's wishes from adult coercion. Staver continues:
In New Jersey, you can talk about homosexuality. You can affirm it as natural, normal and good but you can't give any counsel, or seek any counsel, to change unwanted same-sex sexual attractions.
Staver is trying to frame this is a limitation on prospective patients rather than what it is; a restriction on providers. More importantly, the overwhelming consensus of science on sexual orientation is that homosexuality is a natural variant of human sexuality. Furthermore, it is the overwhelming consensus of science that sexual orientation is immutable.

Apparently NARTH blew a golden opportunity!

Here they were in a United States district court with an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of reorientation treatments. Instead of attempting summary judgment, they had a chance to say that a certain number of children received this therapy and, at various milestones, X% were still heterosexual while documenting their marriages and divorce rates in contrast to the general population. After all, NARTH has been at this for over 21 years now. They could have tracked adolescents into their late 30's.

NARTH makes all manner of claims about the efficacy of reparative therapy to the general public. In this case they probably realized that their crackpots would be subjected to cross-examination by lawyers who were prepared by real scientists who would later testify themselves. Furthermore, while NARTH's quacks are willing to deceive the general public, perjury in federal court is a more perilous undertaking.

Staver says that he is confident that he will prevail on appeal. They've already lost their challenge of California's law before the 9th Circuit CA. I wouldn't count on the Supreme Court taking up a case like this.
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