July 09, 2018
Imagine being stuck in a cycle of depression or an unhealthy relationship and not being able to get help. Well, people in 13 states don't have to imagine it. Thanks to a string of bad laws, something as simple as sitting down and talking to a counselor of your choice about your struggles with sexuality isn't allowed. And if the far-Left had its way, Maine would have been the latest to join the club. Fortunately, Governor Paul LePage (R) had other plans.
The state motto of Maine is "Dirigo" -- Latin for "I guide." And in a raging debate over Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE), the state's leader did exactly that. After watching other legislatures fall like dominos in the outrageous push to outlaw talk therapy on gender and sex issues, LePage became the first governor on either side to put his foot down. In a two-page veto announcement, the governor did what no others have had the courage to do: stood up to the activist bullies and their junk "research" about the dangers of routine counseling.
"I am vetoing LD 912 because it is bad public policy," he explained bluntly. Among other things, he rejects the idea that professionals like counselors need to be regulated beyond what they already are through their licensing requirements. Like people on both sides, he agrees that people shouldn't be abused in any way if they've "experienced sexual or romantic attraction toward an individual of the same gender." But, he goes on, as this bill is written, even a simple conversation with a therapist could be called into question.
"This so broad that licensed would be prohibited from counseling an individual even at the individual's own request. We should not prohibit professionals from counseling an individual even at the individual's own request. We should not prohibit professionals from providing their expertise to those who seek it for their own personal and basic questions such as, 'How do I deal with these feelings I am experiencing?'"
Governor LePage also warns that the bill could be "interpreted as a threat to an individual's religious liberty. Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment from professionals who do not oppose the parents' own religious beliefs..." And, since LD 912's supporters couldn't produce any evidence that therapists were practicing the kind of radical "conversion therapy" the Left insists they are, LePage argues that what activists are "really trying to regulate are the private, consultative conversations between a licensed provider and client."
Earlier today, the Left's hopes of overriding the governor's veto fell 15 votes short of the two-thirds majority required in the state house. Our friends at the Christian Civic League of Maine were instrumental in stopping the attack that, unfortunately, continues across the country. Lately, the other side has been on the warpath to keep people from experiencing the freedom this kind of counseling can offer. If it didn't work -- transforming lives and bringing others out of bondage -- extremists wouldn't bother. But, as a growing chorus of courageous men and women have testified, it does work. As Walt Heyer explains in the Federalist, if a ban like Maine's or the one proposed in California had succeeded 30 years ago, he'd probably be dead.
"If [California's] AB 2943 were in place back in the 1990s, most likely I would have died from suicide or -- as this bill proposes -- once I embraced my life as a trans-woman, I was sentenced for life." He had access to two Christian psychotherapists who helped him walk away from his identity as Laura Jensen -- for good. "The bill's authors want to make sure the gender-dysphoric people they claim to be 'helping' have no way out, even if that's what they desperately want. Only an uncaring legislature would sign such a draconian bill into law."
"We who have come out of the lesbian, gay, or transgender lifestyle found the serenity and satisfaction we had desired all our lives," he says gratefully. "Our lives are proof of the effectiveness of therapy for some individuals, regardless of what the detractors do to disparage or ban it... If some persons have a deep desire to rid themselves of same-sex attractions, shouldn't they be allowed to try?"
Walt's opponents – in Maine and across the country -- say no. Like a lot of extremists, they don't want to admit that change is possible because it undermines the whole linchpin of the LGBT argument: that being gay or transgender isn't a choice. So, they ratchet up their misinformation machines, insisting that all counseling is torture. But, as people like Walt would tell you, the real torture is telling people who want help they can't have it.
FRC's Peter Sprigg explains plenty of reasons why Governor LePage made the right decision in his publication, "Protect Client and Therapist Freedom of Choice Regarding Sexual Orientation Change Efforts." Also, in California, the battle is still raging over AB 2943. Before the state Senate votes, make sure they've heard from you!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.