The proposed NC Constitutional Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage is being considered at a special legislative session on Monday, September 12. I refer readers to an article I posted within the past day describing the agenda as being one of hatred borne of ignorance and political manipulation (ref). However, after reading statements made by Senator James Forrester, NC Senate Deputy President Pro Tempore, as reported in the press, I issued a response to him today with copy to multiple legislators in the General Assembly. That response is provided below.
Should anyone wish to send their opinion of this Amendment to legislators, I provide the following e-mail addresses: Senator Forrester James.Forrester@ncleg.net, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil.Berger@ncleg.net, House Speaker Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net, Speaker Pro Tempore Dale.Folwell@ncleg.net, House Majority Leader Paul.Stam@ncleg.net
I note that you are a physician. I obtained my research degree at the Medical College University of Arizona and spent my career largely involved with clinical research studies of therapeutic agents, progressing to executive ranks in the pharmaceutical industry.
I came across a piece in the Gaston Gazette that reported on a meeting you attended and spoke at regarding the proposed NC constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage http://www.gastongazette.com/news/marriage-60684-state-one.html. In that article the following statement is attributed to you:
“We need to reach out to them [homosexuals] and get them to change their lifestyle back to the one we accept”.
My belief is that you must have forgotten the medical dictum ‘First do no harm’, for the statement you made in public is reckless and may actually cause harm.
Both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have taken positions that efforts to change sexual orientation have no scientific credibility and may cause psychological damage to patients.
The following is excerpted from the American Psychological Association’s Resolution on Appropriate Affirmative Responses to Sexual Orientation Distress and Change Efforts http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.aspx
From their Research Summary:
Although sound data on the safety of SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts) are extremely limited, some individuals reported being harmed by SOCE. Distress and depression were exacerbated. Belief in the hope of sexual orientation change followed by the failure of the treatment was identified as a significant cause of distress and negative self-image (Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Shidlo & Schroeder, 2002).
From their Resolution
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association affirms that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality regardless of sexual orientation identity;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association reaffirms its position that homosexuality per se is not a mental disorder and opposes portrayals of sexual minority youths and adults as mentally ill due to their sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation;
Additionally the following is excerpted from the American Psychiatric Association’s position statement regarding Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies http://www.psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/APAOfficialDocumentsandRelated/PositionStatements/200001a.aspx
1. APA affirms its 1973 position that homosexuality per se is not a diagnosable mental disorder. Recent publicized efforts to repathologize homosexuality by claiming that it can be cured are often guided not by rigorous scientific or psychiatric research, but sometimes by religious and political forces opposed to full civil rights for gay men and lesbians. APA recommends that the APA respond quickly and appropriately as a scientific organization when claims that homosexuality is a curable illness are made by political or religious groups.
2. As a general principle, a therapist should not determine the goal of treatment either coercively or through subtle influence. Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or “repair” homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable. Furthermore, anecdotal reports of “cures” are counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last four decades, “reparative” therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to First, do no harm.
Sometimes it helps to put a face on the matter. Robbie Kirkland was a 15 year old who was continually subjected to negative ‘homophobic’ social pressures regarding his sexual orientation. He took a key from his father’s key chain, unlocked his father’s gun and put the keys back. He climbed up to the attic where he lay down on a mattress. Then he shot himself in the head. The suicide note was found in a notebook at his mother’s. “I am sorry for the pain I have put everyone through…I hope I can find the peace I couldn’t find in my life”.
It is time that we stop discriminating against our diversity, for real lives are at play. I ask that this legislature vote down the constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.