Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gay Rights and Conversion Therapy

Gay rights - sure.  Freedom of speech - absolutely.

Gay rights, as valid as they are, cannot trump free speech.  Those opposed to gay rights have the freedom to argue publicly against them, just as do individuals who are opposed to integration, or against Muslims, or against Jews, or against Christians - as long as they do not create a major public disturbance or contribute to violence.  Free speech has no limits except those deemed liable to result in riotous behavior.

A federal judge in California correctly ruled that a recent state ban on "conversion therapy" for citizens under age 18 was unconstitutional.  "Conversion therapy" is a form of mental health therapy which purports to assist gay individuals who wish to alter their sexual orientation.

Though one can argue the age factor, the principle of allowing "conversion therapy" should be upheld.  It is not for legislatures or judges to decide the validity or non-validity of a medical "therapy" in which participants are willingly engaged.  Arguments that it "may cause harm" are also invalid.  Many medical therapies "may cause harm," but are not subject to legislative oversight.

It is the the responsibility of the medical profession to properly advise on the validity or non-validity of a form of medical therapy - and it is the right of an individual to either take this advice, or not, once he is made fully aware of the risks and benefits - as is the case for ALL medical therapies!

However, medical insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, have the right and responsibility to either include coverage for various therapies or not.  If such plans, after carefully considering proper scientific studies, conclude that there is no benefit to "conversion therapy," or that the risks far outweigh any advantage, they retain the responsibility to deny coverage for such treatment.  

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