Legislature Denies Individuals With Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction Counseling Consistent With Their Faith

Today, each house of the New York State Legislature passed legislation that denies individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction from receiving professional counseling that is consistent with their faith (S.1046–Hoylman/A.576–Glick). The legislation bans mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts—or “change therapy”—with minor clients. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is an outspoken supporter of the bill and is expected to sign it into law. Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, made the following remarks: 

“The bill takes the position that efforts to diminish or resolve unwanted same-sex attraction are futile. This position flies in the face of scientific evidence and of the lived experiences of untold numbers of people—some of whom have visited Albany to speak with legislators about their opposition to the bill. Nevertheless, the political left persists in treating change therapy as the mental health equivalent of snake oil.”

“The passage of this bill will harm four groups of people. First, it will harm young people that might benefit from change therapy, but will no longer be able to obtain it legally in the State of New York. Second, it will harm the parents of those young people by removing potential sources of help for their kids. Third, it will harm mental health professionals who could now lose their livelihoods if they assist minor clients in overcoming unwanted same-sex attraction. Fourth, it will harm every resident of the State of New York by eroding free speech, religious liberty, and parental rights.”

“The Counselor Coercion Bill is often portrayed as an effort to protect vulnerable young people. This messaging is helpful to the bill’s proponents, as most elected officials are eager to protect vulnerable young people. However, this bill is not really about protecting vulnerable young people; rather, it is about silencing a perspective on sexuality that LGBT advocates and their allies find unpalatable. This is not an appropriate public policy goal.”