Assembly to look at limiting First Amendment rights of therapists and clients - Must Read Alaska
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Friday, December 4, 2020
HomePoliticsAssembly to look at limiting First Amendment rights of therapists and clients

Assembly to look at limiting First Amendment rights of therapists and clients

ANCHORAGE COULD BAN SOME FORMS OF THERAPY FOR GAY CLIENTS

On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly will take up an ordinance that would prohibit counselors and therapists from helping young clients who are struggling with unwanted homosexual thoughts, gender dysphoria, or other gender identity or sexual variations.

Offered by three gay members of the Anchorage Assembly, the ordinance would mandate that if a minor wants counseling for unwanted sexual urges or expressions, therapists would have to end the counseling session and show their client the door. Families could, of course, travel to Palmer or Wasilla for such counseling, but it would not be available in Anchorage.

Opponents of the measure say the ordinance would infringe on the First Amendment rights of both patients and therapists, and put a chill on therapists who believe a young person is experiencing a temporary identity problem and want to explore what may be going on in that young person’s life.

The ordinance leans on the authority of a three-part story by the Anchorage Press that says persons who are homosexual are discriminated against. In the third part of the series, the Anchorage Press calls gender therapy “Conversion, The real hell,” focusing on two minors who had therapy forced on them by their parents.

The ordinance would not prevent pro-gay counseling and hormone therapies to assist a young person in presenting as the opposite sex or following romantic attractions with the same sex, but would prevent a counselor or therapist from any communication that would discourage that road for their patients.

In an Alaska Family Council workshop for pastors and others concerned that their religious freedoms or patient-therapist relationships are being infringed upon, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council warned that sexuality among minors can change as children grow in or out of experimentation phases.

He said that the ban on counseling is a form of “viewpoint discrimination” by a governing body, and that is a constitutional infringement on many levels.

Going to counseling is deeply personal experience that involves viewpoints, perceptions, and emotions, and if therapists think they are going to be sued because they ask questions of their patients, it will make therapists suppress their own viewpoints.

Sprigg added that parents are in charge of the health care and development of their children, something that has been upheld numerous times at the U.S. Supreme Court, and that there are minors who do want to undergo counseling for homosexual urges.

He also faulted the ordinance because it refers to licensed counselors, but doesn’t say who the licensing authority is. In some cases, churches sanction or license counseling services through ordination.

[The entire ordinance in its current form is at this link.]

The meeting starts at 5 pm, but the public is not allowed to attend, per an order by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. You can find the full agenda and watch the proceedings at this link.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • What? Normalized heterosexual ideation is not allowed as part of psychological counseling? First of all, therapist/patient counseling is a matter of privileged communications, and the information between these two is to remain confidential. But if the patient is seeking counseling to convert his/her feelings to normal desires, that is, heterosexuality, then that therapy needs to be addressed as part of rehabilitation. Homosexuals are very unhappy people. It seems that their unhappiness rarely turns about, usually when they can exert some control over their victims……in this case, the voting public.

    • Good post, Marla. I can tell you that I have had many varieties and flavors of patients over the years. My assessment on the mental stability and happiness of those patients is similar to your conclusion. Homosexuals tend to be very unhappy individuals. As the old saying goes, misery loves company.

  • Wow! A doctor has to kick you out if you tell them you are troubled with impure sexual thoughts you are having. You people really need to vote out these freaks currently infesting council’s, boards and the legislature. They really do not represent the population as a whole, and use their pulpit to try and bring down the rest of the population to their level to try to make themselves feel more normal.

  • But I thought the Assembly and Mayor wanted to treat mental illness. Apparently only mental illness of homeless people.

    Pass this, and ASD is going to get involved along with local docs. Lots of money to be made in conversion therapies and medical mutilation of bodies, all without the knowledge and consent of the parents. Cheers –

  • How about maintain the roads, letting the police and firefighters do thier jobs, look for waste in government and otherwise stay the hell out of our lives. You are part time citizen legislators. Mind your own affairs. We got along without you before you were elected.
    Quit making problems so you look like hero’s “solving”. You are way over your head in social engineering. Stirring the pot to impose your will. Enough already!

    • Hear, hear! *standing and applauding*

    • Amen! Couldn’t say it better.

  • The Politicians need to stay the hell out of the private lives of individuals. The SCOTUS has already ruled on several cases that the parental rights can not be circumvented and here we have a few Assembly members trying to insert their feelings into that of a Parent. Stay the Hell out of the Doctor’s Office there are many other things that need to be taken care of in the Municipality like maybe crime.

  • Clearly those pushing for this ordinance are anti science. There is no ‘gay gene.’ The human body functions a certain way. Being homosexual or gender ‘ confused’ is a choice, a behavior and not normal.
    This ordinance would be Unconstitutional and is obviously intended to keep people from getting the help they need.

  • I guess the three did not get around to reading a very important book on the subject, written by gay man: “The Madness of Crowds” by Douglas Murray. 12 pages of footnotes and references to scholarly research that undermines any notion that this proposed ordinance is a good idea. Worse, it is a danger to public health. Elected officials sometimes forget that the office they hold is a trust and not a personal possession. Elected office is not your opportunity to remake society in your own image.

  • It is interesting that 3 of the 4 gays on the Assembly are pushing this, and in doing so, validating every single ugly anti-gay stereotype out there. Perhaps they ought to be thinking with their heads rather than their genitalia.

    These guys were elected because being gay was not supposed to matter. Now they are telling us it does matter. Pass this and voters will remember and elections will get a lot uglier. Cheers –

    • The Illiberal Left. Working hard to put The Babylon Bee out of business.

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