This bill prohibited any licensed professional in Virginia from offering “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts” to people under the age of 18. Sexual Orientation Change Efforts was defined as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender” (Emphasis mine.)
That means that any child who is engaged in same-sex sexual behaviors cannot be counseled to change those behaviors by a licensed professional in Virginia! The ban would have even covered pastors who are also licensed by the state to provide counseling – and plenty are!
A dozen states, several cities, and the District of Columbia have all banned “Conversion Therapy” for minors. Virginia is not one of them, but now regulators may try to push this through without the legislature.
Our legislators in Richmond recognized that this proposed law was completely wrong. It violates free speech, religious liberty, and endangers children who should be able to receive helpful and godly counsel to avoid dangerous behaviors and to address the underlying issues likely contributing to certain feelings.
Now regulators are considering whether to impose this policy upon Virginians anyway!
The Department of Health Professions recently called for representatives from the boards of Psychology, Counseling, Social Work, Medicine, and Nursing to come to a meeting to “consider inclusion of such a prohibition in their unprofessional conduct regulations.”
This meeting will be held in Henrico on Friday, October 5, at 10:00 a.m.
We must speak up against regulations that would silence counselors who want to serve children and remain true to their deepest convictions. We must protect religious liberty. We must protect free speech.
Public Comment is invited at this meeting. Each speaker will be given up to 3 minutes.
Please take time during the morning next Friday, October 5, to attend and speak up at this Department of Health Professionals “Conversion Therapy Working Group.” If you would like help drafting something to say, I would be happy to help you write out a public statement. Please also pass this information along to your pastor and any counselors, doctors, nurses, or other licensed professionals you know.
As a personal note: I have been the recipient of counseling that encouraged me to change my behaviors with respect to my own same-sex sexual attractions. If this law had been in place when I was growing up, my pastors would not have been allowed – by state decree – to help me resist sexual temptations and to live in a godly way. The professionally licensed counselors I visited as a teenager helped me to live in accordance with the obligations I have as a male image bearer of the Holy God.
This law will silence those counselors, and would leave young men and women who are struggling like I was without any godly counsel in their lives.
These regulations will also go beyond what is done for children. A bill in California came incredibly close to being passed as a law that would ban Sexual Orientation Change Efforts for adults, as well. A ministry in New Jersey who serves adults who want to change their homosexual behaviors was recently shut down after a lawsuit was brought against them.
No counselors, doctors, nurses, or social workers should be treated as “unprofessional” when they stand up for what is true and what is best for children or adults. Please join me next Friday to speak up in opposition to any regulations that would silence these professionals.
Join me on Friday, October 5th, in speaking up against this regulation.
Department of Health Professionals
“Conversion Therapy Working Group”
Friday, October 5, 10:00 a.m.
9960 Mayland Drive Suite 300
Henrico, Virginia 23233