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Ex-Gay Award Goes to Defender of Underage Conversion Therapy

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday August 27, 2013

Dean Mathew D. Staver of the Liberty Counsel will be honored with the premiere Ex-Gay Freedom Award to be presented at First Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner and Reception in Washington, D.C. on September 30 held in a presumably small venue at an undisclosed location.

As self-proclaimed ardent defender of civil liberties, Staver has been on the front lines of the movement to defend the rights of counselors who want to change the sexual orientation of underage clients.

"We are thrilled to honor Dean Staver at the First Annual Ex-Gay Pride Celebration," announced former homosexual Christopher Doyle, President & Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless on their website. "[Staver] has tirelessly advocated for [the] God-given right of self-determination and Constitutional rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I can't think of a better person to receive this award!"

As one of his primary achievements near and dear to the hearts of those in the ex-gay movement, Staver was lead counsel in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California Senate bill SB 1172, which banned therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation of children under the age of 18 (Pickup v. Brown). The ban, effective as of January, was put on hold for the three California therapists who challenged the law, in part because of Staver's efforts.

According to event organizers, the need to create an Ex-Gay Freedom Award is as important as ever for the movement, because the process referred to as "sexual orientation change effort" by the American Psychological Association has come under fire as of late.

  • Last November in New Jersey, four young men sued a gay conversion provider, alleging fraud and accusing it of using dangerous sham tactics to try to "fix something that isn't broken."

  • In May, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, a leader in psychiatry in the 20th century, apologized for publishing an article saying that conversion therapy was possible for motivated patients.

  • Weeks later, Exodus International, a nonprofit for ex-gay Christians, stated that they don't recommend "therapies that make changing sexual orientation a main focus."

  • And a week ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill barring licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation of gay teenagers, stating, "on the issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards."

    Referring to depression and suicide as possible effects of attempting to change a person's sexual orientation, Christie went on to say, "I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate."

    On the radio program "Faith and Freedom", Staver explained the dangers of lawmaking that denies counselors their rights.

    "This is the first time in history that I know of that a state or government has come in and told counselors--on any subject--you can only counsel on one viewpoint of the subject," said Staver.

    "It would be like them coming into say... if somebody seeks your assistance for alcohol abuse--they don't want to actually, excessively consume alcohol or drugs--you have to tell them it's okay [to abuse alcohol]. That's exactly what they've done in regards to homosexuality."

    Additionally, Staver is concerned that this legislation will interfere with the counseling of pedophiles, and they will not get the help they so desperately need.

    "[If] someone comes in and says, 'Look I've actually got these feelings for minors of the same sex," Staver cautioned. "They will not be able to address that same sex attraction."

    With the prompting of his co-host Staver qualified that, since the law only applies to people under the age of 18, the pedophiles he referred to would be minors as well.

    Proud former homosexual Greg Quinlan, founder of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, the organization hosting the dinner, announced:

    "In honor of his heroic work on behalf of former homosexuals and clients who seek change, we are excited to congratulate Dean Staver with this award and express our deepest gratitude as he continues to advocate for our rights."