Prospective Foster Parents Sue to Practice Conversion Therapy

Couple claim religious discrimination

James Finn
Nov 23, 2020 · 6 min read
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Adobe Stock photo of parents reading Bible stories to their children. Photos of the couple suing are available, but this story is about much more than them.

They replied that homosexuality is a “sin that can be resisted,” saying they would help the child “overcome” their sexuality.

The senior pastor was a kind, moderate man who treated me like a beloved member of his Christian family. He put his arm around me and told me not to worry about my single mom paying for the expensive summer camp. Of course the church would take care of it!

I was luckier than I realized

I had no idea how dangerous conversion therapy is, how much suicide it causes among Christian teenagers. I didn’t know the kids most at risk for severe depression and suicide attempts are the ones who enter programs voluntarily — that the more they sincerely desire to change, the more likely they are to suffer severe depressive episodes and even try to kill themselves.

Background: Conversion therapy is in the news again in the U.S.

Fast forward decades and conversion therapy is hot, one more element of our blazing culture wars. Most Americans say they oppose it, and lawmakers in 20 states have outlawed it for minors. Legislators believe the sexuality experts who tell them how dangerous the practice is.

The Australian case: parents say they will help LGBTQ foster kids “overcome” sexuality

According to new reports, an Australian couple in Perth filed an application in January 2017 to become foster parents with a state-run family services agency. During the assessment process, the married couple who identify as evangelical Christians and have children of their own, answered a routine question about how they would handle a foster child who might come to identify as LGBTQ.

The prospective foster parents have sued

The agency attempted to get the case dismissed on the grounds their decision followed religiously neutral state requirements, but the couple’s case has proceded and will be heard in a State Administrative Tribunal process next month.

The harm of attempting to change or suppress sexuality is well established and not a function of religious faith

When famed British mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing killed himself after being outed and prosecuted for being gay, he wasn’t being merely stubborn. He wasn’t refusing to change who he was out of pique. He knew, just as I knew years ago standing in that pastor’s office, that trying to stop being gay is impossible.

Religion must never be privileged to hurt people

I don’t blame my pastor from all those years ago. I believed his assurances then as I believe them now: he loved me and wanted what was best for me. The trouble is he was wrong about what was best.

Courts must disregard religious faith in favor of actual human knowledge. LGBTQ people’s health and lives depend on that.

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James Finn

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

James Finn - The Blog

Collected Writings. Stories and ramblings from a long-time LGBTQ thinker and activist.

James Finn

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

James Finn - The Blog

Collected Writings. Stories and ramblings from a long-time LGBTQ thinker and activist.