California Blocking Conversion Therapy for Those Struggling with Sexual Identity

California Blocking Conversion Therapy for Those Struggling with Sexual Identity
April 30, 2012 Lighthouse Network

Karl Benzio, M.D. of Lighthouse Network Says Bill to Deny Therapy Infringes on Rights of Patients Who Want to Change

Philadelphia, PA—A new bill being introduced in California would threaten the rights of individuals who are struggling with homosexuality and want to engage in conversion therapy.

Senate Bill 1172, introduced by Senator Ted Lieu who openly speaks about his homosexuality, has been reviewed and amended by the state Senate and is now being passed onto a judiciary committee.

Homosexual activists around the country have deemed conversion therapy to help those struggling with feelings of homosexuality “dangerous.” But many therapists know—and the American Psychological Association agrees—that no data exists confirming that homosexual attractions are inherent from birth, or that people are “born gay.”   However, there are many individuals who have left the homosexual lifestyle and have proven that one can change from being a homosexual to a heterosexual.

Karl Benzio, M.D., is the founder, executive director and a psychiatrist at the Lighthouse Network, an addiction and mental health referral program that also provides the Lighthouse Addiction Helpline , a free 24-hour counseling helpline. The therapist says that conversion therapy does work, that homosexuality is a complex choice determined by many factors, and that denying therapy to those who truly want to change infringes on their freedoms.

“The fact is that this bill will block hurting people who want to change their current sexual orientation through conversion therapy, so they can pursue healing and restoration.” Benzio said. “This takes away not only their individual freedoms but also their religious liberties. As a therapist and psychiatrist, I know that some people want to change their sexual orientation and grow toward a healthier lifestyle sexually, psychologically, and spiritually. They should have that right to pursue treatment and then have professionals able to provide that specialized care.

“Why would we withhold care and a cure for any illness from anyone,” he continued, “especially if the cure can be so freeing from psychological and spiritual distress? Laws should not impede the advance of science and its application to help the human condition. The First Amendment protects the right of the clinician to practice his or her faith, and this is a prime example of denying the Right of Conscience for our healthcare professionals. As long as the patient and therapist are clear on the goals and the methodology, the government should not interfere.”

Benzio goes on to say that many believe they were “born that way”—born homosexual—because the majority of core events influencing this decision are subliminal and occur early in life, so homosexuality may seem like the person’s inherent way of life from a young age.

“I find it interesting that the government allows people the freedom to change their bodies to change their gender and the various treatments for that process to be completed, or the freedom to have an abortion and take another life, but yet won’t allow someone else the choice to engage in treatment—proven to be helpful—to change their sexual preference,” Benzio said. “Clearly, if opponents feel conversion therapy is ‘dangerous,’ then they should see that changing bodies to another gender or abortion is exponentially more dangerous, as an example, and want to ban those, too. But this is not the case, so obviously another agenda is at play here.”

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