Good news! Some Oklahoma lawmakers want to ban “conversion therapy.”

Oklahoma lawmakers aren’t always known for making the most rational decisions when it comes to introducing legislation (see “constitutional carry”). However, every once in a while they surprise us with a logical initiative. Unfortunately what often appear to be laws that would benefit Oklahoma society, sometimes turn out to be half-assed attempts to appeal to voters. Though I am super stoked that Oklahoma lawmakers are finally looking to ban the harmful practice of “conversion therapy,” I’m really worried that this might be one of those half-assed appeals.


TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Should parents legally be able to send their children to therapy to “pray the gay away”?

Right now, some Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to ban the controversial practice of conversion therapy for minors.

As Deputy Director of Oklahomans for Equality, Jose Vega is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the LGBTQ community, and one reason why — there’s a time in his life he fights not to think about every day.

After “coming out” as a teen to his devout Catholic family, Vega says confusion led him to agree to conversion therapy, not knowing it would consist of praying daily at the church, three hours before school and three hours after.

“It takes a toll on your knees; you want to just lean or relax a bit? No. Straight on your knees for six hours,” Vega said.

Every day, he watched the same video that graphically depicted how the church believes sins are “paid in hell…”

Right now, 18 states and several cities have placed some type of ban on conversion therapy.

So yes, some Oklahoma lawmakers are looking to ban the practice of conversion therapy. But here’s the thing. This new potential law would likely only affect those operating with a mental health professional license, like LPC, LMFT, or LCSW. It would not necessarily add any more red tape to the ridiculously loosely-regulated profession of “pastoral care.” So yes, I am very happy that Oklahoma lawmakers are working to ban the practice of “conversion therapy” by licensed mental health professionals. But by allowing “pastoral care” providers to act without this regulation, Oklahoma is leaving many of its most vulnerable citizens in the hands of “care providers” who may not necessarily have counseling training or the legal obligation to follow the ethics and laws licensed professionals have to abide by. Which means this potential new law likely won’t completely ban the practice of conversion therapy. Which is going to be a problem…

The American Psychiatric Association opposes it, and in 2001, the surgeon general stated there is no science behind conversion therapy, but don’t tell that to Stephen Black, executive director of First Stone Ministries in Oklahoma City.

“I was called a sissy. I was called a queer,” Black said.

Black says he used to live as a gay man, and he says it was caused by years of bullying and abuse. He says everyone told him he was gay, even the priest of his parent’s parish…

As an ordained minister and not a counselor, he and his staff provide what they call “pastoral care” to adults and minors, therapy he wishes he had…

Legislation introduced this year would ban licensed therapists from practicing conversion therapy on minors. It didn’t get a committee hearing and may be heard next year after a study.

Because First Stone Ministries is Bible-based, and they don’t employ licensed counselors, a ban would likely not affect them.

Research has suggested time and time again that not only is conversion therapy ineffective in changing someone’s sexual orientation, but it is also linked to an increase in poor mental health and dangerous behaviors, like self-harm risk, for those who are subjected to it. If we truly want to help LGBTQIA+ kids in Oklahoma, we need to ban conversion therapy across the board or else it may drive more people to suicide than salvation.

Counselors don’t get angry, they get thera-pissed. Follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek.

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29 Responses

  1. I believe this is very good news for Oklahoma children, as well…Now…If we can protect the Oklahoma children still in the womb from being brutally murdered, that would be great, also.

    1. Mike, do you consider yourself a “small government” conservative?

      It might be within your power to prevent poor Oklahoma women from obtaining abortions, but you would barely inconvenience more affluent Oklahoma women who are able to seek abortions by traveling out-of-state.

    2. Well, now, Mike, you have to admit that some fetuses are giant dickheads and deserved to be murdered. Granted, it’s hard to tell sometimes – there’s borderline cases – so I think it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and just murder the bejeebies out of pretty much all of them.

      1. deserve

    3. Tomorrow?

      Impeachment won’t move that fast. And then Pence will be president, and he’s not a Democrat yet.

      1. Kanye is mentally ill. Just watch his embarrassing delusional ramble in Trump’s office from a few months back. He’s delusional and even his friends admit it. That’s the best example you have of someone having faith?
        Geesh, maybe it is.
        Go actually read a Richard Dawkins book, you idiot. You might learn something.

      2. Oh good -TLO has picked up another name-calling “conservative” commenter.

        Sorry to disappoint you, basedgod, but I’m not a boomer! 😀

    4. Wait, they only kill black children at Planned Parenthood? Man, that’s racist!
      Basedgod, let’s you and I take a little walk down a hypothetical street for a second here. (I’ve gone through this before but it bears repeating, I think.)
      Here we are walking, and we come upon a fertility clinic that’s burning, and inside we hear someone screaming for help. We rush in – well, you rush in first because you are a model of upstanding morality – and you see on your right a little 5 year old child (make her whatever color works for you), and on your left you see a clearly labeled tray of 100 fertilized embryos. You only have time to save the tray or the little girl.
      Which do you save, Basedgod? You know what your answer is, because those embryos don’t mean as much to you as you say they do. You don’t really believe it’s murder to leave them there, but you like to deal in hyperbole more than messy, complicated truth.
      But let’s say we totally criminalize all abortions. You going to support trying those black women who walk into an illegal clinic somewhere for murder? How you going to handle it when they’re convicted and condemned to death, because, after all, they are paying someone to murder someone else – a classic contract killing. You going to convict their aunt who drive them there as accessory to murder? The friend they told afterwards who didn’t turn them in, as accessory after the fact?
      If you stop a woman about to have an abortion and try her for attempted murder, you going to make her have that child while she is in prison, and then put that child into an orphanage?
      “Killing black children isn’t cool”. Neither is imposing your beliefs on others.

      1. Nice day for it –
        Wins the internet, again.
        You guys have been on fire this week!
        Love it!

        1. how did he win the internet exactly? This was a blatant rip off of Richard Tomlinsons argument about the burning building. If anything he won at copy and paste.

          1. I should have credited Mr. Tomlinson? There’s a footnote function on here somewhere? Hell I didn’t even remember where I first heard it, but then, I’m terrible with names.
            Maybe I should have started with “I heard somebody say once that,…”
            I think it’s a great argument though, even though I blatantly ripped it off, and bears repeating, because I’ve never heard a good response to it.

        2. Most great ideas aren’t fully original.

          Applying great ideas in the right circumstances does win – in physical science, in social science, in politics…. and on the internet.

    5. why does it have to be a dem? religeous purposes?

  2. Someone needs to ask Stephen Black how many gay people he has murdered because they committed suicide after his program.

  3. It’s called birth control Mike

  4. The abusive bullying known as “conversion therapy” is a triumph of blind faith over science and reality. There is zero evidence that it is possible to “pray away the gay”, no matter how sincere and dedicated the practitioner and the victim might be.

    Now I have a sincere question about Catholic and other Christian theology:

    Apparently all Christian denominations teach that all extramarital sex is gravely sinful, even for a heterosexual couple. That cohabitation of an unmarried heterosexual couple, often referred to as “living in sin,” is indeed sinful.

    Is homosexual sex outside of (Christian) marriage somehow MORE sinful than it is for heterosexual couples? If so, based on what teaching – given that Jesus himself spoke against fornication.

    Jesus also spoke specifically against divorce. Are remarried divorcees somehow less sinful than gay couples in similar committed relationships?

    I ask these questions because so many Christians seem obsessed, and sometimes even hysterical, over the idea of homosexuality – while they merely shrug tolerantly over divorce and remarriage, extramarital sex in general, and “living in sin” among their fellow Christians.

    What’s the deal here?

    1. Most Christians I know seem adamant that the bible teaches that all sins are equal in severity. That there is no such thing as a minor sin in the eyes of God. Not saying you are wrong about Christians in general seeming to give a pass on the issue of divorce and sex before marriage as opposed to homosexuality. I think that the widespread cultural opposition to homosexuality stems less from religion and more from the dominant heteronormative culture just finding homosexuality icky. And then they just use their religion as the basis of their belief, when that is not actually where their belief really comes from. Because anything else would simply be bigoted.

      1. Your last two sentences are what I have always suspected.

        All sins equally severe? Masturbation as serious as murder? Maybe so, since you can go to Hell for all eternity for either one.

        1. I say this as a former homophobic Christian, who still has Christian friends, so I am speaking from experience.

      2. Jesus himself never said a word about homosexuality, period. Not one word, never mentioned it at all. That’s the end of the story as far as coming from the “source” is concerned.

        1. Yes, but most American Christians like to cherry pick from the Old Testament when it suits them. Take issue with that or not, it still informs modern politics.

  5. I still want to know why I can’t own a Canadian.

    1. I think you can only own the young virgin Canadians. God says to kill the rest.

    2. But….You may be able to rent one for a “Three Day Viewing,” in order to watch a citizen of the most free country on earth. (The U.S. currently resides in 12th place, and falling).

      1. Legatum Institute ranks Canada first in “personal freedom”, which in their ranking system means being pro-immigration and holding progressive social values. That should probably be clarified when you call Canada “the most free country on earth”

  6. The men I have talked to who went to conversion therapy usually found a hook up on the group sessions . Interesting ….

    1. Not even a lifetime of devotion to Jesus could save Ted Haggard from being gay.

  7. Since when do we ban things because they are “linked to an increase in poor mental health”? By that token, wouldn’t we need to ban social media overuse? And…sleep deprivation?

  8. Wait, not so fast: I want to convert my dryer to run on 110 volts instead of 220.

    Electric dryer, HEEEEEEEEEAL!

    Can I get a muh-fuckin’ AMEN?

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