Despite widespread community opposition, the governing body for the city of Anchorage, Alaska, voted 9-2 in favor of an ordinance that bans all counseling aimed at helping youth with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.
Before the Aug. 26 vote, Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at Family Research Council, spent hours testifying before the Assembly (via telephone from his home in the Washington, D.C. area), pointing out a tragic irony of the proposed ordinance’s treatment of gender identity.
“It would be legal to interrupt normal physical development with puberty-blocking or cross-sex hormones, and to perform surgeries that mutilate and/or sterilize a young person for life,” he said. “But it would be illegal for a therapist to simply talk with that young person in a way that might help him or her to become more comfortable with the body he or she was born with.”
He also argued that evidence shows that “all the elements of sexual orientation—sexual attractions, behaviors, and self-identification—are subject to change over time.” And that “at least six significant surveys or studies in the last 20 years … have shown that therapy or counseling can be effective in helping clients achieve their personal goals of change in sexual orientation.”
“Unfortunately, despite Peter’s best efforts, the Anchorage Assembly chose to move forward with a measure that is not anchored in constitutional law, professional ethics or scientific truth,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.
Sprigg wasn’t the only one who testified in opposition to the ban.
The Anchorage Baptist Temple encouraged community members to testify before the Assembly against the ordinance that would “strip parental rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”
In all, about 65 people testified before the Assembly, with the majority in disagreement of the ordinance, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Crystal Kennedy, one of the two Assembly members to vote “no,” expressed her frustration in the outcome of the meeting.
“This allows the government to play a role in determining the upbringing of a child,” she said. “It’s hard for me to fathom that in an age where we’re trying to strengthen families, we drive this wedge.”