A group of ex-gay therapy advocates are objecting to a proposed ban on the treatment for minors in New Jersey, claiming that such a law would help protect pedophiles. The so-called “Citizens Against the Jerry Sandusky Victimization Act” has been organized by the New Jersey Family Policy Council — not surprising given the group’s past president is Greg Quinlan, who identifies as ex-gay and is also president of the ex-gay advocacy group PFOX. The committee believes that homosexuality can be caused by sexual abuse, and thus if minors are not allowed to receive therapy to change their orientation, they’ll be less likely to report abuse they receive.
Ex-gay therapist Christopher Doyle, who works with infamously disavowed therapist Richard Cohen at the so-called International Healing Foundation, is also a member of this “Citizens” group. This week he told American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios that if New Jersey’s bill banning ex-gay therapy passes, “more Jerry Sanduskys will get off scot-free”:
DOYLE: What we’re trying to communicate to the press was gay activists are indoctrinating young people to believe that they’re born that way, that they’re born gay. And if young people believe that they’re born gay because of the gay activist indoctrination they will not seek a professional counselor to try to figure out why they have same-sex attractions. Many times, in fact about half of the clients that I have in my client list right now, have experienced sexual abuse, lots of them by pedophiles such as Jerry Sandusky. So if they’re never going to go and seek help for their unwanted same-sex attractions, which are a symptom of that trauma, then the Jerry Sanduskys of the world will not be discovered, they will not be reported by professional counselors. Kids won’t tell their parents they were molested because the kids are going to think, ‘Hey I’m born this way and my sex abuse didn’t have anything to do with my same-sex attractions,’ and then there you go — more Jerry Sanduskys will get off scot-free.
Listen to it (via RightWingWatch):
Doyle has previously claimed that there is no data available about the outcomes of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) for adolescents, a point he does not realize is a compelling argument against offering the treatment. There is also no evidence to substantiate any link between sexual abuse and sexual orientation — if anything, such claims only serve to prey on the vulnerability of young people who have been traumatized. In contrast, research continues to verify the unchangeable biological and genetic components of sexual orientation.
Besides the point that ex-gay therapy and its accompanying claims have no scientific merit, Doyle’s argument actually undermines his own espoused goal. If he truly believes that having an unwanted same-sex orientation is the only reason to report sexual abuse, then he also inherently believes homosexuality is the only consequence of sexual abuse. This disregards the very real trauma and very real consequences that actually result from abuse. It’s simply an absurd idea that if kids are okay with their sexual orientations that they’ll somehow just shrug off the abuse they experience.
A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced the proposed ban on ex-gay therapy for minors, and Gov. Chris Christie (R) has even indicated willingness to sign it should it pass out of the legislature. A similar ban passed in California has been suspended pending legal challenges from the ex-gay network NARTH and other anti-gay groups.