Following through on its promise to challenge California’s new ban on ex-gay therapy for minors, the Pacific Justice Institute has filed suit on behalf of a self-proclaimed “ex-gay” therapist-in-training, Aaron Bitzer, and two other therapists, Donald Welch and Anthony Duk, who provide reparative therapy. The suit is rife with spurious claims and meritless demands that essentially equate to whining about the law’s limitations, none of which comes close to meeting a Constitutional challenge. Here is a sampling from the complaint, aptly filed under “Plaintiffs’ Beliefs”:
Forced to discriminate?
If a minor’s objectives are to bring his or her sexual conduct and desires into conformity with the religious traditions, cultural norms, and moral standards of the minor, Dr. Duk can provide treatment so long as the minor is heterosexual. However, under the statute in question, a minor who has unwanted same sex behaviors or attractions cannot be treated with either counseling or prescription medications. [...] Dr. Duk is therefore required to discriminate against minor patients for no other reason than their sexual orientation.
The complaint refers to such conduct as “sexual behaviors, desires, and addictions such as pornography.” Under the law, there’s no reason that gay youth could not pursue therapy for the very same things so long as it’s not in the context of denying, repressing, or attempting to change their sexual orientation. These therapists are basically admitting that they would intentionally discriminate against any gay kid who still wanted affirmation for his or her orientation.
Violation of professional ethics?
The statute materially interferes with the plaintiff mental health professionals’ exercise of their independent professional judgment in providing treatment to minors who have unwanted same sex behaviors or attractions… This is in violation of these plaintiff mental health professionals’ obligations under the rules of professional ethics to provide treatment to persons regardless of their sexual orientation.
Providing ex-gay therapy is already a violation of their professional ethics, as all major professional psychotherapy organizations have condemned the practice as ineffective and harmful. That they seek to provide it nevertheless demonstrates that their “independent professional judgment” is severely compromised.