February 2015

Senate Bill 5870 cancelled – Substitute bill going forward

Thank you everyone so much for your prayers regarding Senate Bill 5870.  The Senate Bill 5870 that would prohibit the counseling of minors with same-sex attractions was voted out of committee on Friday.  In place of that bill they’ve put together a Substitute Senate Bill 5870 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/5870-S.pdf.

The wording has changed from prohibiting all “sexual orientation change efforts” to prohibiting the more physical “aversive” therapies for minors.  It prohibits the use of “electrical shock, extreme temperatures, prolonged isolation, chemically induced nausea or vomiting, assault as defined in chapter 9A.36 RCW, or other procedures intending to cause pain, discomfort, or unpleasant sensations to the client or patient.”  It does not prohibit “those practices, treatments, or therapies that are within the standards of practice for license holders….”.

This bill is a huge improvement as the initial bill prohibited all forms of therapy for minors.  I’ve not known anyone to use any of the physical aversion techniques they’ve specified in decades so I don’t think that portion will affect any therapists I’m aware of.

Again, thank you everyone so much for your prayers!

Update – Senate Hearing Committee Follow-up

I just want to give a very heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who was praying for us this morning as we testified before the Senate Hearing Committee on bill 5870, legislation that seeks to ban therapists from counseling minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  There were four of us who testified, 2 of which are licensed therapists which was awesome.  Our testimony time was very short, we thought we’d have 3 minutes each to share but it wound up being more like 1 minute each.  While our testimony time was short we provided all the members of the committee with copies of our written testimonies for them to be able to read in more depth.  Following our testimonies the senators had a lot of questions for us and one of the therapists was very eloquent in addressing their questions.  The Senate Committee seemed genuinely interested in what we had to say and actually spent quite a lengthy time on Q&A.  I think it went very, very well.  We will know on Friday if the bill dies in committee or moves on.  Again, thank you all very much for your prayers.

Please Pray – Speaking at Senate Hearing Committee Tuesday AM

The Washington State legislature is looking at passing a bill “Senate Bill 5870”  that will make it illegal for therapists to counsel minors who are wanting to get help with unwanted same-sex attractions.  There is a senate hearing committee meeting about this tomorrow between10am-12pm and I will be one of several people providing testimony in opposition to this bill and I would greatly appreciate your prayers.  I don’t normally get involved in political activity as I don’t want the ministry to be seen as anti-gay.  However this bill is aimed at making therapy inaccessible to youth who want to get help to live a life consistent with their beliefs and since providing people help for unwanted same-sex attractions is what I do, I felt I need to speak out on behalf of these young people.  Please pray for me, the others who are giving testimony, and that the bill would die in committee.

Last year a similar bill “House Bill 2451” passed the Washington State House of Representatives by a vote of 94 to 4 but was later narrowly defeated by the Senate Health Care Committee.  So far California, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. have all passed legislation banning therapy for minors with unwanted same-sex attractions.  Encouraged by the legislation passed in these three areas there are now 20 states who are considering passing similar legislation including Washington.

Your prayers are greatly appreciated.