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U.S. Court Rules ‘Sexual Orientation’ Protection Laws Must Include Former Homosexuals

PFOX calls for all sexual orientation laws and programs nationwide to include former homosexuals

In a case that is the first of its kind, a federal court has ruled that laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the District of Columbia must also include former homosexuals as a protected class.

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia has ruled that under the D.C. Human Rights Act, a former homosexual must have the same protections as an active homosexual against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The decision handed down by Judge Maurice Ross says that the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) was wrong to dismiss the discrimination complaint of “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays” against the National Education Association (NEA) on the basis that ex-homosexuals were not covered by the HRA’s anti-discrimination protections, because they were no longer practicing homosexuals.

“We are gratified that the ex-gay community in Washington D.C. now has the same civil rights that gays enjoy,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays.

PFOX had filed a discrimination complaint to the OHR after the national teachers union had refused to give the group a booth at the NEA’s EXPO 2002 convention in Dallas, Texas.

The NEA which is headquartered in D.C., where PFOX filed its application, said it had a policy against giving accommodations to groups which are against NEA policy or which it believes would have a disruptive effect.

Although the DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on “sexual preference,” “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression,” the OHR maintained that only homosexuals, bisexuals, “transgenders”, and cross-dressers qualified for protection under the Act.

Ex-homosexuals did not qualify, because the OHR said sexual orientation was “immutable.”

P-FOX then appealed the OHR decision to the Superior Court, which has the final say over agency decisions in the nation’s capital.

The Superior Court rejected that argument as “erroneous” and said the OHR had ignored the “plain language and explicitly stated intent” of the HRA, which protects plenty of circumstances subject to change such as “religion, personal appearance, familial status, and source of income.”

The court said that the language protected individuals on both their sexual “preference or practice,” meaning that the law also protected those who changed their sexual practices from homosexual to heterosexual.

“By failing to protect former homosexuals, the sexual orientation laws gave more rights to homosexuals than heterosexuals who were once gay,” said Griggs, who added that PFOX was happy with the result “that ex-gays are a protected class under ‘sexual orientation.'”

The Superior Court did rule that the NEA was within its rights to reject PFOX’s application to its annual conference on the grounds that it could prohibit the attendance of those groups, which it deemed contrary to its policies or could prove disruptive.

For those reasons, the court let the OHR decision against PFOX stand.

“All sexual orientation laws and programs nationwide should now provide true diversity and equality by including former homosexuals,” said Greg Quinlan, a director of PFOX.

“I have experienced more personal assaults as a former homosexual than I ever did as a gay man.”

PFOX called on the NEA to stop “denying equality to former homosexuals” and to include an ex-gay caucus member to the NEA Sexual Orientation Committee.

[26August09, Peter J. Smith, Washington DC,]


Little Recognition Given To Study of Sexual Reorientation Therapy at APA Convention

Findings contradict the APA position that homosexuality is not changeable.

Dr. Stanton Jones and his research partner, Dr. Mark Yarhouse, were given the opportunity, on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., to present their findings on a study of sexual reorientation therapy, at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association (APA) in Toronto.

The paper titled, “Ex Gays? An Extended Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation,” was presented as a part of an APA symposium titled Sexual Orientation and Faith Tradition Symposium.

The six year study concluded that there is evidence that homosexual tendencies can be controlled and redirected toward normal sexual attraction.

The research was based on a study of 98 men and women who sought help from Exodus International, a Florida-based evangelical ministry that provides sexual-orientation conversion therapy and counseling.

The group seeks to help individuals troubled by their sexual orientation to achieve “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Jones began his presentation by outlining the rejection of reorientation therapy for homosexuals by most professional mental health associations.

Last week the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution urging mental health professionals to avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

“I had met people in the religious community who claimed to have changed,” said Dr. Jones, a professor of psychology at Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois.

“And at the same time I saw a growing momentum behind the view that change is impossible. As a scientist it is an empirically interesting question when you see a growing momentum behind a view but you feel that you also see exceptions to that view. So I thought it would be an interesting thing to study.”

Jones then noted an important limit and hypotheses of the study:

“Our study addresses the generic questions of whether sexual orientation is changeable, and whether the attempt is intrinsically harmful, by focusing only on the religiously mediated approaches to change; this is not a study of professional psychotherapy.”

In light of the newly accepted convention that homosexuality is not a mental illness, the researchers stated that, “We hypothesized that sexual orientation is not changeable, and the attempt to change is likely harmful.”

However, the study found two forms of successful reorientation away from homosexuality in the study group.

Thirty percent of the study group categorized themselves as successful in chastity:

“Subjects who reported change to be successful and who reported homosexual attraction to be present only incidentally or in a way that does not seem to bring about distress, allowing them to live contentedly without overt sexual activity.”

23% of the group reported a successful conversion to normal heterosexuality:

“Subjects who reported change to be successful by experiencing substantial reductions in homosexual attraction and substantial conversion to heterosexual attraction and functioning.”

Drs. Jones and Yarhouse conclude that their findings contradict the APA position that homosexuality is not changeable.

“In conclusion, the findings of this study would appear to contradict the commonly expressed view of the mental health establishment that sexual orientation is not changeable and that the attempt to change is highly likely to produce harm for those who make such an attempt.”

The report also stressed the need to keep “a range of professional and ministry options open to clients who experience same-sex attraction, are distressed by this because of their moral or religious beliefs, and who may benefit from hearing about a number of intervention modalities.”

The full text of the paper presented by Dr. Jones yesterday at the APA convention is available.

See previous LSN coverage:
APA Officially Rejects Reorientation Treatment for Homosexuals
APA Ignored Evidence that Homosexual Behaviour is Part of Psychiatric Disorder Says Noted Psychiatirst

[Thaddeus M. Baklinski, TORONTO, August 10, 2009,]