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Apr 22 2013

Staver Worries About Back Alley Gay Reversion Therapy

Mat Staver, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Orly Taitz or Larry Klayman, is challenging a new law in California that forbids anti-gay therapy. And he told Mike Huckabee that he’s really worried that this will lead people to go to back alley anti-gay therapists:

Staver: They make the premise that this counseling is harmful, it’s harmful if it’s engaged in, they say, by licensed professionals that have training and education. Well guess what? If this law passes and it goes into effect and the court doesn’t stop it, then if it’s harmful to have this by licensed professionals, what’s the next step? It’s even more harmful to have it done by people who are not licensed or trained, but that’s where it’s going.

Huckabee: It’s almost like saying that if you set a broken leg as a medical doctor and you don’t do it a certain way, you’re in trouble. Obviously, if you’re not even a medical doctor, I think you’d clearly be clearly under a greater level of trouble, that’s the point you’re making.

Funny, he dismisses such concerns when it comes to abortion, which really is far more dangerous when done in an unlicensed and unregulated facility. In this case, though, he is — as usual — full of shit. There is no difference between anti-gay reversion therapy done by a licensed therapist and by, say, a minister. It’s all nonsense based on absurd notions that being gay is wrong and that gay people are broken and must be fixed by God.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    John Phillips, FCD

    I’m sorry, but every time I read ‘back alley anti-gay therapists’ I just break out into uncontrollable laughter.

  2. 2
    carlie

    Holy shit. Until I got to the last paragraph, I assumed it was satire for the purpose of highlighting the stupidity of the anti-abortion point of view. But it’s real? Sheesh.

  3. 3
    Captain Mike

    “It’s almost like saying that if you set a broken leg as a medical doctor and you don’t do it a certain way, you’re in trouble. Obviously, if you’re not even a medical doctor, I think you’d clearly be clearly under a greater level of trouble, that’s the point you’re making.” – Mike Huckabee

    You don’t need to be a medical doctor to set broken bones. You’re going to get in trouble if you charge people for your services, but just doing it is usually fine and dandy.

    I know this has nothing to do with gay reversion therapy, but to be fair, neither did Huckabee’s statement.

  4. 4
    Akira MacKenzie

    Is this anything like black-market homeopathy?

  5. 5
    doublereed

    Licensed professionals?

    It’s important that if you’re going to psychologically and physically abuse your kids that it’s done by licensed professionals. That is what I’m reading. That is their argument.

    Sigh… time to look at some cat pictures…

  6. 6
    criticaldragon1177

    Ed Brayton

    Its not really funny that he dismisses such concerns when it comes to abortion, since Staver is living in a right wing fantasy world. Off course if there really was something to the rights nonsensical beliefs about gay people, its unlikely we’d be in this position in the first place.

  7. 7
    anubisprime

    I think it highly likely that anyone that ends up in a back alley anti-gay therapist’s grubby money grabbin’ claws then it will be at the bullying, steering and cajoling of the snake oil salesmen that can no longer practice their scam openly.
    The scam will be…” I cannot do it but I know someone who can”…then work a percentage with their shady partner based on referral fees.
    Cos no doubt money will be in this mix somewhere.

    Xtians…by their scams ye shalt know them!

  8. 8
    cptdoom

    Ironically, Richard Cohen, one of the leading “ex-gay therapists,” (best known for his techniques of having patients beat pillows with tennis rackets – the pillows are supposed to represent their parents whose bad parenting made them gay – and “holding” therapy where he literally hugs the gay out of his male patients) is not a licensed therapist, and makes that clear when questioned about his work. By not being licensed, and not claiming to provide psychological services, he avoids all that nasty liability, because he can claim to be more like a “life coach” than a therapist.

  9. 9
    janiceintoronto

    Wow! New business opportunity!

    Of course, since it’s “back alley” which would be provided by less than ethical practitioners the patients would probably end up in real hospitals.

    In the long run it could work out quite well.

    What about all those erototoxins that would be removed? They’d probably just get dumped into the local water supply. OMG!

  10. 10
    leftwingfox

    Its not really funny

    Well, less “Ha, funny.”, more “Does this fish smell funny?”.

  11. 11
    stever

    “Black-market homeopathy?” ROFLMAO! If someone was selling fake homeopathic “remedies”, how could you prove that they were fake?

    Back-alley “psychotherapy”, OTOH, like amateur exorcism (“We must torture the possessed until the demon flees!”), can be as dangerous as moonshine whisky.

  12. 12
    cottonnero

    This is similar to how the wingers don’t give a shit about black people until they want to use the “Abortion kills black babies” meme. Oh, now you care about the quality of unregulated procedures.

  13. 13
    D. C. Sessions

    You don’t need to be a medical doctor to set broken bones. You’re going to get in trouble if you charge people for your services

    Tell me. Broke a leg five years ago (that long?) and to get it into the splint my colleagues had to “align” it. And that is, indeed, within our standard of care since a leg where the toes point 90 degrees from the knee has serious (limb-threatening) circulation problems.

    By the time I got it x-rayed, it was all lined up beautifully.

    In contrast, it doesn’t matter who does the “gay reversion therapy:” afterwards, you’re no straighter than my leg was right after I broke it.

  14. 14
    jamessweet

    I think this is actually an interesting point… It’s a little sick to be comparing it to abortion, but maybe a better comparison would be, e.g. heroin addiction. Probably nobody should do heroin, but it seems that “harm reduction” is a better policy than forcing it underground the way we do in the US. If the market for gay reversion therapy is strong enough, will a black market develop if it is prohibited? And will that black market actually be more harmful than doing it above board? (I would argue that any therapist doing this shit in 2013 is already probably a total fucking quack, so maybe it would be no worse underground?)

    In any case, I think this is probably the LEAST crazy argument against prohibiting gay reversion therapy that I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t necessarily change my opinion, but it gives me food for thought.

  15. 15
    Bronze Dog

    Frankly, I suspect back alley gay reversion is already well-covered by bigoted families who trade pop pseudopsychology urban legends about how to de-gay their kids. The minor difference I see between them and the “professionals” is that you have to pay the latter. Well, maybe the latter has better lawyers and political connections for when they get into trouble, too.

  16. 16
    Doug Little

    back alley anti-gay therapists

    Was this meant to be intentionally funny because it sure made me laugh. I’m sure you need to bang on the back door to gain entrance as well if you know what I mean.

  17. 17
    frog

    The primary difference is that very rarely (if ever?) does someone kidnap their own teenage daughter and bring her somewhere to undergo a forcible abortion, whereas gay kids are forced into anti-gay “therapy” all the damn time.

  18. 18
    D. C. Sessions

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if he was actually complaining about unlicensed gay aversion?

  19. 19
    baal

    @#14 – the reversion therapy itself is harmful since it doesn’t reduce suicide rates whereas real therapy about accepting yourself does. I doubt the ‘back alley’ version is much worse.

  20. 20
    escuerd

    Stever @11:

    “Black-market homeopathy?” ROFLMAO! If someone was selling fake homeopathic “remedies”, how could you prove that they were fake?

    By finding real medicine in it, ala Zicam?

  21. 21
    Robert B.

    We are worried about back-alley anti-gay reversion therapy, in fact. But usually we just call it “child abuse.”

    @ frog:

    Or, to look at the same thing another way, women generally seek out abortion for themselves, often against social pressure, while gay people usually have to be pressured into reversion therapy. So I really doubt “black market” is a good metaphor here. Certain religious groups might conspire to create the demand and then illegally profit and/or further non-financial religious objectives from it, but that’s more of a “protection racket” model.

  22. 22
    =8)-DX

    Surely this wouldn’t work. Surely what those nasty homosexuals do in back-alleys (and public toilets, behind the bicycle shed, up a tree) is what makes them gay in the first place!

  23. 23
    Nomad

    I’m so frustrated by this reasoning. I mean, a defender of gay reversion therapy basically concedes, at least for the sake of argument, that it’s a harmful thing, but says that if we don’t let regulated professionals harm people in that manner than unregulated amateurs will commit even more harm.

    Some time someone needs to use the same argument on him. “Well sure, letting gay people be married by official representatives of the state might cause harm to heterosexual marriages. But forcing them to be married in purely symbolic ceremonies with no official regulation would cause even more harm to society through ways even more impossible to explain.”

  24. 24
    democommie

    What’s the “rusty coat hanger” analog for what he’s talking about? Oh, yeah, it’s “prayer”.

  25. 25
    =8)-DX

    @23 Nomad:

    But forcing them to be married in purely symbolic ceremonies with no official regulation would cause even more harm to society through ways even more impossible to explain.

    It’s actually not that difficult to explain how this harms society (child custody, visitation rights, inheritance tax, negative social pressure, marital property and taxation laws, healthcare).

  26. 26
    Raging Bee

    I think what Staver is trying to imply is that if gay people can’t have “therapy,” they’ll end up going to back alleys to do other things he doesn’t want to mention. It’s a way of justifying this “therapy” without explicitly making any wildly implausible claims like “it works.”

  27. 27
    Christoph Burschka

    That does sound pretty risky. If you’re going to be brainwashed and psychologically scarred, you should make sure that it’s done by licensed professionals.

  28. 28
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Well guess what? If this law passes and it goes into effect and the court doesn’t stop it, then if it’s harmful to have this by licensed professionals, what’s the next step? It’s even more harmful to have it done by people who are not licensed or trained, but that’s where it’s going.

    Really!? These fucking clowns can see the argument when it relates to Gay Reversion Therapy, which in reality is fucking harmful, but they can’t see it when it applies to abortion? Fucking really?

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