Countering a One-Sided Representation of Science: NARTH Provides the “Rest of the Story” for Legal Efforts to Challenge Antisexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) Legislation
NARTH compiled science-based information in this document in response to the proposal, passage, and subsequent adjudication of legislation in California (SB 1171)
in 2012 and in New Jersey (AB 3371) in 2013 to prohibit the provision of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) to minors by licensed therapists. The information in this document is intended for use in various formats to counter the sometimes faulty and often incomplete presentation of science used to defend such anti-SOCE legislation. The information is presented in four sections under the following themes: I. The objectivity of the Report of the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (hereafter referred to as the Report) is demonstrably suspect; therefore, the Report’s representation of the relevant literature concerning the efficacy of and harm from SOCE is neither complete nor definitive. II. Nonheterosexual identities, attractions, and behaviors are subject to change for many people, particularly youth. III. There is no scientific basis for blaming SOCE for the harmful stigma and discrimination reportedly experienced by persons with a nonheterosexual sexual orientation. IV. Spitzer’s reassessment of his interpretation of the results of his 2003 study on SOCE does not invalidate the results he reported. Licensed mental health professionals (LMHP) who practice some form of SOCE care deeply about the well-being of sexual minority youth and see SOCE as a valid option for professional care, an option that deserves to be protected by state legislatures. LMHPs who do offer SOCE support the right of all clients to self-determination.