NOM BLOG

Experts: Evidence Shows We Must Respect Rights of Religiously-Motivated to Change Orientation

 

Stanton L. Jones is the Provost of Wheaton College and has served a three-year term on the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association. Mark A. Yarhouse is the Rosemarie Scotti Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University.

They write in Mercatornet about the results of a longitudinal study they conducted over a period of seven years, now published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy:

"...the study suggests that since change seems possible for some, then all should respect the integrity and autonomy of persons seeking to change their sexual orientation for moral, religious, or other reasons, just as we respect those who for similar reasons desire to affirm and embrace their sexual orientation.

This requires that space be created in religious and professional circles for individuals to seek sexual orientation change or sexual identity change with full information offered about the options and their potential risks. We would do well to put as much information as possible in the hands of consumers so that they are able to make informed decisions and wise choices among treatment options.

The results also suggest that it would be premature for professional mental health organizations to invalidate efforts to change sexual orientation and unwanted same-sex erotic attractions."

38 Comments

  1. j. fox
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The Success of therapy is GREAT news for the homosexual community. Happy and fruitful traditional man-woman marriages are obviously attainable.

  2. Louis E.
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I still think that in case there IS a genetic component,it is appropriate to prefer celibacy for potential carriers.

    I regret that this man is inclined to treat "embracing and affirming" homosexual orientation as a rational choice,but even NARTH makes that mistake.

  3. Randy E King
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The "rational choice" position is tied to the "care and well being of our patients" position for the majority of psychologists.

    Psychologist have come to believe that there is greater risk of permanent harm to their patients if they do not allow the patients a freedom of choice that is not tied to tradional morals.

    Psychologists have no interest in saving their patients in a spiritual sense; they are only interested in ensuring their patients do no immediate harm to themselves, or to others.

    This position is one based on politics; not science.

  4. Bryan
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Why is NOM promoting this ? What has this to do with marriage ? And if homosexuality is a choice, that means heterosexuality is a choice to.

  5. Equal
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Louise, I always enjoy sharing your posts with my religious friends and co-workers.

    Your worldview is so extreme even among the NOMbies. Being gay is a choice so we should discriminate against them since they 'choose' to be second class citizens. But just in case it isn't a choice, we should still force them into celibacy because they are clearly 'carriers' of some disease. Sounds a little too much like eugenics to me.

  6. Ash
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Homosexuals who embrace their SSAs have a right to do so. Homosexuals who don't embrace their SSAs have a right to choose religious or nonreligious reorientation therapy.

    I'm interested in the nonreligious reorientation practices. I'll be glad when there is an open discussion about it amongst opposing groups.

  7. Ash
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I guess NOM focuses on the religious therapies because they are concerned with how gay politics could hamper religious freedom.

  8. Carol
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Sexual orientation is not a choice.

  9. TC Matthews
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Who you choose to have sexual relations with is always a choice.

  10. M. Jones
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Given the deliberate and targeted destruction of traditional marriage and families (children without a father or mother) homosexuals should be required by law to undergo change therapies.

  11. Louis E.
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    "Discriminating" in favor of better over worse behaviors should be required.Wanting to do something doesn't make it right,and sexual activity with someone of one's own sex is always automatically wrong for anyone.There is no "second class citizenship" involved,any more than my driver's license makes me a "second class citizen" by requiring that my inferior vision be corrected to the only kind that anyone SHOULD have,rather than my having an "equal right" to separate roads with large-type signs.

  12. TC Matthews
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Carol, that may or may not be true. No one has been able to prove that sexual orientation cannot be changed. In fact, the current understanding is that it is a fluid dynamic. I respect people's choice either way.

  13. Claude
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Respect is a two way street. Not being comfortable with one's orientation or gender identity is one thing that can be shared with a minority of gay people, and transgendered and transexual people. We respect people who live in that discomfort and explore change. I sympathize with people who live this.

    What is offensive is the recuperation by the fundamentalist religious right and social conservatives that "praying the gay away" is god's way of curing homosexuality. Being gay does not require a cure.

    What is further offensive is the double standard. The fundamentalist religious right called for the boycott of Dancing with the Stars over featuring Chaz Bono, who lives his transexuality with dignity and deserves respect. He's been the object of disrespect from social conservatives.

    If you want respect, start with treating others with respect. Stop saying that my 24-year loving committed relationship with my same-sex husband is an abomination and a sin. I deserve your respect. You may not like it if you are a fan of Leviticus (and I hope follow all the other edicts, including not wearing clothes of mixed fabrics), but no one has appointed you judge to pass judgment on me.

  14. Spunky
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    @ TC Matthews

    Yes but it's still not a choice. A person can't just decide to be attracted to whoever they want. These studies suggest that it is possible to condition certain emotions and behavior, but that's kind of the opposite of saying sexual orientation is a choice. Rather, it's such a strong impulse that people need targeted therapy to change their orientation.

  15. Randy E King
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    It is not a choice; it is a preference. Our very biology screams that same-sex activity is wrong; just like our biology rebels against us when we smoke, drink, eat fatty foods, and the like.

    The "born that way" lie is insulting. Those who take part in same-sex relations are no more "born that way" than those who prefer Coke over Pepsi, Chicken over Beef, Baths over Showers, Coffee over Tea, etc

    Society has no interest in promoting personal preferences; only "...these truths we hold to be self evident."

  16. Daughter of Eve
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    The govt. doesn't license and regulate "attraction." The govt. does have a vested interest in encouraging marriage exclusively between a man and a woman because of gender complementarity, and because only opposite-sexed coupling can produce children. So simple.

  17. Mikhail
    Posted October 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    If you are gay and non-religious, or practice a religion which is okay with sex outside of marriage (such as wicca), then there is no reason not to abstain from homosexual intercourse. But if you are Christian or Muslim and struggling with same-sex desire you deserve the right to have therapy to overcome it. The Orthodox church helps people out of sinful desires, we do not condone them!

  18. leo
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    I agree D of Eve

  19. Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    TC Matthews, post #8:
    "Who you choose to have sexual relations with is always a choice."

    Sure, but a person's sexual orientation isn't about who they choose to have sexual relations.

  20. Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Louis E, post #11.
    "...sexual activity with someone of one's own sex is always automatically wrong for anyone."

    In your opinion. Not everybody agrees with you on that. I've always felt that as long as it doesn't involve anything illegal, a person's sexual activity is nobody's business but their own.

  21. Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Daughter of Eve, post #14
    "The govt. doesn't license and regulate "attraction." The govt. does have a vested interest in encouraging marriage exclusively between a man and a woman because of gender complementarity, and because only opposite-sexed coupling can produce children. So simple."

    But neither gender complementarity nor the fact that only opposite-sex coupling can produce children adequately explain why the government has any vested interest in keeping marriage exclusively between a man and a woman; and by keeping it so, it *is* effectively legislating on attraction, since it's saying that marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals and some bisexuals.

  22. Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    M Jones, post #10
    "Given the deliberate and targeted destruction of traditional marriage and families (children without a father or mother) homosexuals should be required by law to undergo change therapies."

    Given that homosexuals are not involved in any deliberate and targeted destruction of traditional marriage and families, such a legal requirement would be needlessly draconian.

  23. M. Jones
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    And thousands of people can and do change. They decide homosexuality is the wrong choice and with Gods help can be called to be attracted to the opposite sex.

  24. Louis E.
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    David Brider,any who disagree with me have no sound basis for their position.It is a public matter that only those sexual relationships that are between persons of opposite sexes can be qualified for recognition as marriages,as that is the only kind of relationship whose existence helps rather than hurts society as a whole.
    Spunky,if you're not attracted to the kind of person with whom you can form the only kind of relationship of enough worth to be called a marriage,then you don't get married...that's easy.

  25. Posted October 9, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    M Jones, post #19
    "They decide homosexuality is the wrong choice..."

    Homosexuality isn't a choice, any more than heterosexuality is.

  26. j. fox
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    @david. See the successful study results above for changing unwanted sexual attraction or addiction.

  27. Posted October 9, 2011 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    j. fox:

    I'm well aware that there are some reports of therapy resulting in a change of sexual orientation. I'm also well aware that such changes are very much in a minority; that people who have experienced such changes tend to be a bit backward in coming forward when attempts to independently verify those changes are made; that there are huge question marks over whether the changes represent actual changes in sexual orientation or simply changes in sexual behaviour; that individuals who have prayed for changes in sexual orientation without involvement in conversion therapy have been unsuccesful in their attempts; and all the available anecdotal data points to a person's initial sexual orientation being not a matter of choice but something they discover in their formative years.

  28. TC Matthews
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    David, the marriage debate is all about who you choose to have sexual relations, not orientation. Regardless, I find this article very interesting. I do believe it is important to allow people to choose how they will live and not corral them into one category or another.

  29. Randy E King
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    From Websters Dictionary:

    1
    a: the act of preferring : the state of being preferred b: the power or opportunity of choosing

    2
    : one that is preferred

    3
    : the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others

    4
    : priority in the right to demand and receive satisfaction of an obligation

    5
    : orientation 2b

    Little wonder marriage corruption activists have such disdain for the actual definiton of words...

  30. Posted October 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    TC Matthews, re post #28

    A person's sexual orientation is going to play a huge part in deciding who that person will want to get married to. A heterosexual person, someone who experiences romantic and physical attraction to people of the opposite gender to him or herself, is likely to get married to someone of the opposite gender to him or herself. A homosexual person, someone who experiences romantic and physical attraction to people of the same gender as him or herself, is likely to wish to marry someone of the same gender as him or herself.

    Sexual relations play a part in that, but they're not the deciding factor.

  31. Louis E.
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Claude,"being gay" most emphatically DOES require a cure,and it's such a simple cure (realization that there is no such thing as a valid excuse to gratify whatever same-sex sexual attraction one may have) that there is no excuse for failing to pursue it.

    David Brider,it doesn't matter if homosexual orientation is a choice,any form of homosexual activity is an indefensible error for which at least one person must shoulder blame.

  32. TC Matthews
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Sexual relations are the only factor that the state has any interest in because of procreation.... by sexual relations, I mean man/woman, not sodomy which does not and cannot by nature create life. However that is beside the point. The point is, people should be free to choose their actions. I find it interesting that some who have already chosen their actions will deny others any choice but what they themselves have chosen. Interesting.

  33. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    A few short years ago marriage corruption advocates were shrieking that sexual orientation lies on a continuum, that it is fluid, that nobody is completely gay or straight.

    They've ceased their shrieking on this particular issue b/c they recognized that this hypocritical model gave folks the (correct) impression that sexual orientation can be a choice.

    Plenty of gay couples split up and one of the individuals marries a member of the opposite gender. Plenty of hetero married couples split up with one the parties getting involved in a gay relationship.

    No doubt the marriage corruption advocates hate these splitters b/c it proves to the rest of us that there is at least some choice in the matter.

  34. Claude
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Barb, marriage equality is not marriage corruption. It is the extension of the institution of marriage to an additional group of relationships between 2 consenting adults of the same sex, who wish to form a family unit.

    The institution of marriage is healthy - not corrupt - where it has been extended to same-sex couples. Take Massachusetts, where the divorce rate is the lowest in the country, a strong indicator of the healthy status of marriage.

  35. Louis E.
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    To extend it beyond its only useful purpose (the guarantee to opposite-sex relationships of the preferential treatment to which their being opposite-sex entitles them) is to destroy marriage completely.The social duty toward homosexuals to break up whatever same-sex liaisons into which they may have fallen is also harmed by any undeserved respect for those liaisons.

  36. leo
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    @ Claude I notice you have been really busy posting comments on NOM's blog, repeating the same crap over an over again, your're not win anyone over, why do you waste your time?

  37. j. fox
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    All we need to do is look at God's truth about marriage. What reason could the Lord have to make someone homosexual? The Lord wouldn't do that to anyone.

  38. Daughter of Eve
    Posted October 10, 2011 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    "It is the extension of the institution of marriage to an additional group of relationships between 2 consenting adults of the same sex, who wish to form a family unit."

    You've never answered the question as to whether or not that "right" extends to two siblings, or to a parent/child couple."

    And, can you give us a reason for extending that "right" only to parties of 2? What if 3 or more consenting adults wish to form a family unit? What say you?