Maggie Gallagher claimed that her first response to Gov. Chris Christie (R) signing New Jersey’s ban on ex-gay therapy for minors was issued in error, but her actual response is not so different. She wanted to distance herself from the language that gay people are “tormented” by same-sex desires, but she still defends the validity of repressing such orientations, accusing Christie of “banning chastity”:
Governor Chris Christie has just put his name to a bill that uses the power of government to strip both parents and teenagers of the right to seek competent, professional help to live their life in accordance with their own values. The bill does not ban a specific kind of destructive therapy; it is a blanket ban on any licensed counseling professional helping any teenager who does not wish to act on gay (or transgender) desire. Not only efforts to change orientation but efforts to change behavior are forbidden, under penalty of law.
Governor Christie just endorsed a law that thus excludes many gay teens who wish to live in accordance with Bible-based values from the circle of care; he has outright banned chastity as a goal of counseling. His bill is not only anti-religious, anti-liberty, and anti-family, it is anti-science because it does not permit scientific knowledge to evolve in the hands of competent professionals.
Gallagher makes a distinction without a difference; any form of therapy that rejects LGBT identities has the potential to be harmful, as they are all based on shame. Her comment about chastity is important to note, because psychology has nothing to say about chastity at all. Chastity is a religious-cultural concept, not one with any connection to mental health, let alone “scientific knowledge.” Thus, nobody should have ever had the expectation that it could be “a goal of counseling.”
It’s clear that Gallagher still thinks it worthwhile for gay people to reject their sexual orientations. Perhaps she doesn’t believe they should be tormented by them, but she’s certainly willing to humor that torment if they are.