Republican National Committee Adopts ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Into Party Platform (DETAILS)

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The Republicans might be no strangers to science denial, but the party of Lincoln might have sunk to a new and disturbing low. Through the work of a veteran right-wing lunatic, the GOP is about to put a formal endorsement behind the widely discredited practice of gay conversion therapy. Otherwise known as “pray the gay away”.

The motion to sanction this quackery was put forth and accepted through the efforts of a man named Tony Perkins. Perkins is a Republican delegate from Louisiana who’s no stranger to cultural warfare. He actually managed to convince the GOP to add a formal amendment to their platform supporting parents’ right to choose conversion therapy.

The problem, of course, is that gay conversion therapy has been shown to be ineffective. Worse still, it can lead to a variety of other extremely dangerous psychological issues in the people it is practiced on. Washington D.C., California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Vermont have all passed legislation that makes it illegal for healthcare providers to provide conversion therapy to minors. 20 other states have introduced similar legislation.

Zeke Miller from Time Magazine has provided the full language which will be presented at the convention.

It’s been out in the open for a while that Christian fundamentalists have had their sights set on a GOP takeover. In fact, it might be a tactic by Trump to further shore up his base in a party that still hasn’t full accepted him. What is surprising, however, is that the Republicans have formally endorsed “treatments” that have been dismissed as quackery by almost every single reputable medical organization in the U.S. The American Academy of Pediatrics has said the following:

‘Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.’

The American Medical Association has chimed in, too.

‘Our AMA… opposes, the use of ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.’

As has the American Counseling Association.

‘[T]he ACA Ethics Committee strongly suggests that ethical professional counselors do not refer clients to someone who engages in conversion therapy or, if they do so, to proceed cautiously only when they are certain that the referral counselor fully informs clients of the unproven nature of the treatment and the potential risks and takes steps to minimize harm to clients.’

As is par for the course for horrible conservative ideas, Perkins defended his motion by pushing the extremes of what is permissible regarding American liberty.

‘There’s states that are trying to restrict what parents can do for loving their children. Parents have a better idea I think than legislators or government bureaucrats.’

Sorry Tony. We might be able to agree that “Mommy knows best” might cut it when it comes to certain things. But when it comes to potentially harmful medical quackery, it may be best to leave those judgments up to the professionals.

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore on Flickr. Available through Creative Commons license.