The governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, has joined the agenda to censor Americans’ free speech, unleashing an executive order banning “conversion therapy.”
While that term has been used by opponents derogatorily, a common understanding is that it is talk therapy delivered by professionals to those who have unwanted same-sex attractions.
The Washington Examiner said the Democrat has directed state agencies to discourage such therapy for anyone.
He also ordered that state funds are not to be used for such therapy.
He claimed, “Conversion therapy is a traumatic practice based on junk science that actively harms the people it supposedly seeks to treat. This discriminatory practice is widely rejected by medical and scientific professionals and has been proven to lead to worse mental health outcomes for LGBTQIA+ youth subjected to it. This is about keeping our children safe from bullying and extreme practices that harm them.”
The concept early on was promoted in California, which banned therapists from talking to people about leaving homosexuality, but promoted the idea of counseling people to become homosexual.
WND reported when Joe Biden, on taking office, issued a similar order.
His focus was to crack down on talk therapy that helps people who have unwanted same-sex attractions.
He also ordered the Department of Health and Human Services “to help prevent LGBT youth suicide by expanding access to mental health resources.”
At the time, the White House statement included a comment from HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, a man who now identifies as a woman.
“I have no room in my heart for hatred and I have no time for intolerance, but we don’t live in a world where everyone feels that way, and this administration understands that more action is needed,” he said.
Such bans also have become common in the United Kingdom, where Christian churches have opposed attempts to make such speech illegal.
They have argued that that is an unequal crackdown on religious viewpoints, and even an atheist agreed.
The Christian Institute reported Stuart Waiton, a senior lecturer in sociology at Abertay University, a “devout atheist,” said it would be wrong to criminalize such discussions.
“I totally disagree with Christian ideas about homosexuality. But I also recognize that in a free and liberal society people must be free to believe and to preach about whatever they like,” he said.
He said the term “conversion therapy” is wrong, as it creates “images of someone being tortured by being strapped to a chair with electrodes stuck on their head.”
Several dozen states already have moved in the same direction, but federal courts have not been so tolerant of such explicit censorship.
And WND reported in 2020 on a federal appeals court ruling that said ordinances in Florida banning the licensed counseling of people with unwanted same-sex attractions are unconstitutional violations of the freedom of speech.
“We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny,” the ruling from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.
The decision was the first from a federal appeals court laws against so-called “conversion therapy” – a term rejected by proponents – since a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In NIFLA v. Becerra, the high court ruled the government cannot force an individual or organization to express a message chosen by the government.
In that case, the ruling found that bans by Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violate the Constitution.