Gazette Brings Conversion Therapy “Debate” Back To Life

In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly passed a prohibition on what’s known as “conversion therapy” performed upon minors, the widely-denounced pseudo-psychological counseling intended to rid the patient of “unwanted” homosexual desires under the presumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder. This bill passed after years of unsuccessful debate over similar measures that resulted in the narrowly split legislature defeating the bill, usually with a flourish of anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice like when then-Rep. Kathleen Conti compared being gay to alcoholism. 20 states have now joined Colorado in banning the practice.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says conversion therapy lacks “scientific credibility and clinical utility.” As a reform on the books for four uncontroversial years and part of a trend of states banning conversion therapy for minors, by a Democratic-dominated legislature that grew from majority to supermajority since passage of this bill, most people would consider the “debate” over conversion therapy to be over. But for GOP gazillionaire Phil Anschutz-owned Denver Gazette worming its way into the Denver media market, nothing is ever over:

Apparently, there is still a “debate” over the efficacy of so-called “conversion therapy”–at the headquarters of Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family. And it’s not so much of a “debate” as it is Focus refusing to accept settled law:

[Jeff] Johnston of Focus on the Family decries the movement for states to criminalize such therapy.

“I want to emphasize that ‘conversion therapy’ isn’t a thing — counselors can’t force you to do something,” he said. “We believe people should get the help they want and therapists should be able to help them. We advocate for people’s freedom of speech, freedom of religion and self-determination.”

Given the remote possibility of “conversion therapy” being made legal again for use on minor children in Colorado, which would require undoing the last fifteen years of political history, we’re curious why this story was written at all. We’re not aware of any legislation coming to repeal the 2019 bill, and we expect Democrats would welcome a fight over this issue once again given the lack of a political downside.

We’re rehashing “conversion therapy” because Phil Anschutz’s newspaper wants us to.

This is not what the Denver Post would do.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pam Bennett says:

    Just as there is no  "conversion therapy" to turn republicans into Democrats, there is no "conversion therapy" to turn LGBTQA people into white nationalists, there is no Christianity in there, even under their rocks.

  2. Genghis says:

    Just like there's a genuine "debate" over whether some invisible magic sky daddy created the universe 6,000 years ago.

    FoF was much more entertaining when grifting sack of shit James Dobson was blabbering about how Satan, driving a black Porsche, chased his son all over Denver.

  3. Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

    Conversion therapy is to mental health what bleach and UV light bulbs are to COVID-19 treatment.


  4. JohnInDenver says:

    “We believe people should get the help they want and therapists should be able to help them. We advocate for people’s freedom of speech, freedom of religion and self-determination.”

    And as soon as people turn 18, they can get the help they want, therapists can supply various therapies, both therapists and clients can speak out and believe how they wish, exercising their self-determination. 

    I sort of wonder if that same interest in people getting help they want is an endorsement of medical marijuana and psychedelics for therapies.

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Focus on the Family is a mainstay of, and major player within, the religious right.

    For these non-conservative, far righties, the old Yogi Berra saying is always in play: "it ain't over until it's over." And they make the "over" decision.

  6. NotHopeful says:

    Focus on the Family's founder has written that he believes that beating children is acceptable form of parenting. Given that public record, I fail to see why anyone would take seriously anything this organization says.

    Beyond that, a person's sexual orientation is biological. It has nothing to do with choice or made-up psychiatric disorders. You are born straight or you are born gay or, maybe, you are born bisexual. In any case, no counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist can change it.

    Are there heterosexual people who experiment with same-sex intimacy? Probably. Are there gay people who experiment with intimacy across the sex line? Probably. But that, too, is no evidence of the claim Focus on the Family and their religious zealot allies make. It is evidence, at best, of persons seeking to figure out their identity.

    This debate, if it isn't over, really should be.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      "you are born straight, you are born gay……" Exactly.

      I've also read that as many as 1 in 100 American adults is asexual. Meaning they aren't interested in frequent sex with anybody.

  7. Thorntonite says:

    "I want to emphasize that ‘conversion therapy’ isn’t a thing…." – Jeff Johnson, FOF

    K.  So if it isn't a thing, then why do you have a beef with banning it?

  8. Chickenheed says:

    This sounds like the "…but people are asking questions" argument that anti-vax folk like to use. Questions have been asked and answered. The only reason FoF folks keep asking questions is because they don't like the answers. The debate has been settled.

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