Oh goodie. Let’s torture some children for the holiday!

Hate group leader Mat Staver (“Mad Mat”) of Liberty Counsel is promoting conversion “therapy” again. This has little to do with helping anyone. Indeed, in a brief that Staver recently filed to appeal a loss in Otto v. Boca Raton, he does not include any statistics reflecting his clients’ purported success rates. He would not dare. Nor does he offer any evidence in support of conversion therapy’s effectiveness.

In contrast his argument is that the American Psychological Association is wrong and that his clients do no harm.

Just what you would expect (from the link in the email):


States are now passing laws which prohibit minors from receiving voluntary counseling from licensed professionals to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion. The fundamental rights of counselors and clients to exercise their right to speak in private counseling sessions must be protected.

Voluntary? Staver offers the 11th Circuit (Otto v. Boca Raton) the same rationale:

Dr. Otto provides an extensive informed consent form and
requires the client to review and sign it prior to commencing any SOCE counseling.

The 11th Circuit panel is going to shred that bullshit. Children cannot provide informed consent. Moreover, in most cases children engage in this crackpottery because their parents compel them to do so. In the alternative, they are shamed into the process. Either way, that is not voluntary.

Dr. Otto is not a conversion therapist. Oh no:

Dr. Otto also does not believe he can change any person’s sexual orientation
or gender identity or expression, and therefore does not himself seek to change any
client in those areas. …
Dr. Otto does believe, however, that through talk therapy people can make their own
changes to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or identity,
or gender confusion, and Dr. Otto assists minor clients with their own goals.

Among other things, Staver is claiming that through Otto, a child can change their gender identity (which would be the only way to resolve what Staver pompously refers to as “gender confusion”). If that is the case then Dr. Robert W. Otto has knowledge that no mainstream behavioral health specialist has. Apparently his co-plaintiff, Julie H. Hamilton, is also an extraordinary practitioner. They should write a paper for JAMA-Psych.

Returning to Liberty Counsel’s website:

All people should have access to the counselor of their choice. No government has the authority to prohibit a form of counseling simply because it does not like the religious or moral beliefs of a particular counselor or client!

Imagine a child you loved was struggling and the proper counseling was not available. Mat Staver explains…

A parent can resolve the struggle with nine simple words: I accept you and love you as you are.

What this is really about is the fact that Mr. Staver absolutely loathes nondiscrimination laws. He uses conversion therapy to argue that such protections should not be provided because the traits are not immutable. Sadly, this falsehood has considerable traction in conservative Christendom.

So have a happy and blessed Easter Mad Mat.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.