02 May 2017

Silver Lining

While the news is often bleak these days because of the chaotic Donald Trump administration, the news out of Washington yesterday included one positive item -- the United States Supreme Court once again turned aside an attempt to invalidate state laws banning so-called "gay conversion therapy."

In 2012, California became the first state in the nation to ban any type of therapy claiming to change a minor's sexual orientation. Several ministers and "conversion therapists" brought suit in federal court to overturn the law, claiming that the ban violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion.

The federal court ultimately rejected their case and that decision was affirmed by a federal appellate court. One of the parties to that suit, a minister who is also a "conversion therapist," tried to appeal to the US Supreme Court but, yesterday, the high court refused to entertain that case, meaning the state law remains valid.

This is the second time the high court has turned aside a suit challenging conversion therapy bans. Although New Jersey banned the practice a year after California did, an appeal challenging their law was rejected by the Supreme Court two years ago.

Of course, this decision has no bearing on any potential federal law that would legalize all "conversion therapy." Trump has never said what he thinks about such a practice, although he has repeatedly pandered to hardcore religious conservatives by doing what they requested on a number of previous occasions.

Vice President Michael Pence is believed by some to be in favor of conversion therapy; however, he has recently refused to state specifically where he stands on the issue. A somewhat vague statement made on his 2000 congressional campaign website could be construed to indicate he favors conversion therapy, but it equally could be interpreted to mean that he favors so-called sexual abstinence programs.

It's no secret that some Republicans in Congress are in favor of a federal law that would legalize all so-called gay conversion therapies and prevent states from banning it for minors. Indeed, for the first time in history, after lobbying by the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council, the official GOP platform at the 2016 Republican Convention included an endorsement of "gay conversion therapy."

The anti-LGBT Family Research Council, of course, has strong ties to Trump himself, who has hired some of their former staff members into his administration and has done their bidding on other measures. There is every indication he will continue to pander to them in an attempt to appeal to evangelical voters.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!
    Is this a country that did put men on the moon?
    Such a scientific advanced country that is still struggling with gay issues.

    What can I say more than you're again screwed by religion evangelical lobby that are too close to political power.

    And now with this «narrow egocentric ignorant bigot» in office, USA LGBT rights are going to be challenge in the next 4 years.

    Also, this administration is NOT open to scientific advices which will make it worst to change their retrograde ideas.

    So sad that gay teenagers will have more issues to get over in addition to their own acceptance of their sexuality.

    Here in Canada and mainly in Province of Québec, we do the exact contrary: we have some groups of LGBT that are going in schools to help those to accept their sexuality and more, to say to straight guys that they have to respect ALL differences.
    We are way far from your OLD ways of thinking because, also, religion is no more in charge of our moral thinking and behaviors.

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