Washington, D.C. - Today, Family Research Council (FRC) voiced opposition to the District of Columbia City Council's vote to bar licensed mental health providers from participating in sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) with minors in the nation's capital. Similar laws have previously been enacted in California and New Jersey, but stalled in the legislatures in more than twelve other states.
Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at FRC, testified against the bill at a DC City Council committee hearing in June. Following passage of the bill today, he issued the following statement:
"The DC City Council disregarded powerful testimony by therapists who debunked misconceptions about sexual reorientation therapy and by clients who had benefited from it.
"This new law is an outrageous assault upon the freedom of speech of therapists, the freedom of religion of clients who seek help in living lives consistent with their faith, and the privacy of the therapist-client relationship.
"Laws like the ones in California, New Jersey, and now in DC are completely unprecedented. Never before has a state outlawed a form of mental health counseling based not upon the techniques used, but solely upon the goal which the client seeks to achieve. This is a shocking violation of the longstanding ethical principle of client autonomy.
"There is no scientific research demonstrating that sexual orientation change efforts cause harm to minors-none. States and jurisdictions should respect the privacy of the therapist-client relationship, not impose restrictions that prevent young people from getting the help that some so desperately want," Sprigg concluded.