Pro-family and parental rights groups across the nation are challenging a recent bill signed into law by California's governor, Jerry Brown, which will prohibit parents from seeking conversion therapy treatment for children who are dealing with homosexual attraction.
California State Senator Ted Lieu, who sponsored the bill, went so far as to compare conversion therapy, and any related form of counseling, to harmful substances such as tobacco and alcohol. Lieu went on to claim that “reparative therapy hurts children, so this bill allows us to stop parents from hurting their children.”
This bill has been challenged by multiple groups who believe this is a prime example of government overstepping its bounds by claiming to know what is better for a child than that child's own parents. Not only is this bill a threat to parental rights, but it also undermines the freedom of speech of minors by forcing them to blindly accept these feelings without having the option to seek counseling to reverse unwanted same-sex attraction.
Parents are the primary influence in a child's life. There are no two people more qualified to teach and exemplify love, true friendship, and healthy sexuality to their children than a mother and father.
This bill is especially troubling as many children deal with questions of sexual orientation and gender confusion as a result of sexual abuse. Lawmakers are assuming that everyone who questions attraction to the same sex does so as a result of their DNA. Forcing children to accept a homosexual lifestyle only victimizes them further and increases confusion.
At the beginning stages of puberty, it is normal for children to be curious about sexuality, which sometimes results in questioning one’s sexual orientation. This legislation is presumptuous to automatically label a curious adolescent as "gay" or "transgender."
In addition to threatening parental rights, and freedom of speech, this bill is a brazen opposition to religious liberty. Churches will be prohibited from condemning homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. School counselors and private Christian schools will be forced to go against their religious convictions by only being allowed to offer advice that affirms homosexuality.
As various family and religious advocacy groups attempt to overturn the law in federal court, it is my prayer that judges affirm the relationship between parent and child. This relationship is central to a child's upbringing and overall well-being.
Ned Dolejsi, director of the California Catholic Conference emphasized the importance of parental choice: “Parents have the best interests of their children in mind, and if they determine that particular types of therapies or interventions are needed, that's certainly their right, and this law doesn't respect that.”
Giving government the power to instruct parents on how to raise their children interferes with society’s most foundational institution—the family unit.
Fathers and mothers know how to serve their child better than any bureaucrat stuck behind a mahogany desk, in the marble halls of the legislative system. Why? Parents know their child’s names. They know their child’s needs, wants, and all the special qualities that make him who he is. Strong families are essential to a healthy culture, and this begins with preserving the rights of parents to determine what is best for their own child.