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Openly gay legislator offers bill to make sexual orientation counseling of minors illegal

TherapyThe state’s first openly gay legislator has offered a bill that, if passed, will make it illegal for licensed mental health providers to offer sexual orientation change counseling to minors.

State Sen. Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) authored Senate File 31 earlier this week. The bill not only prohibits a mental health provider from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age, but would subject those who do to disciplinary action.

Similar legislation has been passed in both New Jersey and California, as well as in the District of Columbia. Legislation like SF 31 is pending in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

In the case of the District of Columbia’s ban, the legislation was crafted in a way that was not supposed to interfere with religious counseling.

Methods of sexual orientation change efforts, sometimes referred to as conversion therapies, are diverse. McCoy’s bill does not specify any single method, and could be construed to include pastoral counseling, which has drawn the ire of Cary Gordon, the outspoken executive pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City.

Gordon is scheduled to appear on WHO-AM’s “Mickelson in the Morning” program tomorrow at 9 a.m. to discuss the bill. He provided exclusive comments to The Iowa Statesman ahead of his radio appearance.

“The language of this proposed bill is broad, sweeping, dangerous and unnecessary,” he said. “It is yet another dangerous encroachment of agenda-driven statism – an affront to parental authority, and an affront to clinical authority!”

Gordon said it is not appropriate for government to “tell physicians what their diagnosis is going to be before they get a chance to evaluate the patient.” He added that government shouldn’t be telling parents what kind of psychological help the may access from a psychologist or pastor, particularly in cases when their child has been raped by a homosexual.

“It is never the role of civil authority to interfere in matters of the church,” he said. “I oppose and decry this horrible and reckless bill with icy clarity. Parents of the next child victim of another high profile gay activist – like Terrance Patrick Bean, who founded the Human Rights Campaign – charged with felonies for sodomizing a young child should not be pre-emptively blocked from proper help for their abused children, especially when Bean’s organization is supporting the language of such a terrible affront to common sense behind the scenes.”

The Human Rights Campaign was among the groups pushing for the District of Columbia’s ban on sexual orientation change efforts with minors. It is not clear if HRC has direct involvement in McCoy’s bill. Lobbyist declarations – all in support of the bill – however, include the Iowa Medical Society, the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa, and Iowa Safe Schools.