Conversion Therapy Protest Planned in Sacramento

Shout out:  This media alert was written and submitted by Ken Pierce.

Sacramento, CA – The American Psychological Association defines conversion therapy as therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned this type of psychiatric “treatment” which is “based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the assumption that a person should change his/her sexual orientation.”

Seattle psychologist, Douglas C. Haldeman wrote, “There are two major concerns about the ‘rehabilitation’ of homosexual men and woman. First, conversion therapies have long been questioned as to professional ethical standards. Second, empirical studies fail to show any evidence that conversion therapies do what they purport to do: change sexual orientation.”

Exodus International, the largest ex-gay organization in the world, has recently announced that they do not endorse conversion therapy, that “99.99% of all their participants have not changed their sexual orientation and that celibacy is the only option for gay and lesbian people”.

Stephen Hallett, law student of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law here in Sacramento and survivor of conversion therapy explained, “Many organizations formally affiliated with Exodus were not happy and wished to continue to perpetuate the discredited affirmation that gay and lesbian people can change.”

One such group, calling itself the “Restored Hope Network,” is composed of former Exodus affiliates and includes the most extreme elements of the ex-gay movement. They tell scared lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) young people that “they can be straight if they try to pray hard enough and they will tell parents of LGBT people that they must always try to change their children.”

Restored Hope Network’s inaugural event will be in Fair Oaks at Sunrise Community Church, September 21-22, 2012. On their website, Sunrise, under Pastor Carl Conli explains their ministry “has proclaimed that there is victory over homosexuality. Hundreds of men and women can testify to the healing that comes through submitting your life to Jesus Christ. Parents, spouses, children and friends have also victory through HIS Ministry at Sunrise.”

California’s Legislature recently passed SB1172. The bill is written as, “Existing law provides for licensing and regulation of various professions in the healing arts, including physicians and surgeons, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, educational psychologists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional clinical counselors.”

“The bill would prohibit a mental health provider, as defined, from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts, as defined, with a patient under 18 years of age. The bill would provide that any sexual orientation change efforts attempted on a patient under 18 years of age by a mental health provider shall be considered unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider’s licensing entity.”

It is unclear if a religious organization that proposes to children, even if a parent gives permission, they can simply “pray the gay away” would be open to legal repercussions. Certainly they would be open to an outside organization bringing a lawsuit to the religious organization to test the legal waters.

Hallett says, “It is important that those who are organizing this event know that Sacramento County does not support discrimination against the LGBT community. It is equally as important that those who choose (or is coerced) to participate in these programs because of fear, shame, and self-hatred knows that there is a way out.”

A peaceful protest is being organized by Hallett against Restored Hope Network Saturday, September 22nd beginning at 8:30am at the Sunrise Community Church, 8321 Greenback Lane, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

For more information contact Stephen Hallett at s_hallett@u.pacific.edu.

2 thoughts on “Conversion Therapy Protest Planned in Sacramento”

  1. When I was in high school and college, I attended Sunrise (then Baptist, now Community) Church. I was raised in the church and was raised believing it was wrong to be gay. I started attending the “HIS Ministry,” that was run by Carl Conli (not then a Pastor). What I found was a bunch of men who couldn’t accept the fact that they had gay desires and feelings, and even though they came to this group, and prayed, and attempted to live Christ centered lives, they were still gay. Period. They CHOSE not to ACT on their gay feelings, but it didn’t change their attraction to men. In short, none of them were “converted.” Had they been converted, they would have no longer been gay, therefore having no need to keep coming to the meetings. But the plain truth of the matter is that these men are NOT converted, they simply choose to supress and vilify their god given desires.
    Granted, my experience was in the early and mid 90s, so roughly 20 years ago. They were an affiliate of Exodus International back then. I’m not saying EI has the right idea either, but at least EI as realized that you cannot “convert” someone by “praying the gay away.”

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