Christian Physician Assistants group issues statement

This evening the Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants issued a press release regarding the American Academy of Physician Assistants House of Delegates action to oppose certain types of sexual reorientation therapy.

We have been discussing this matter on other threads. Bottom line, the professions discourage imposition of therapist views opposing homosexuality and they oppose therapies which begins with the premise that homosexuality is a mental disorder to be treated.

Physician Assistants group backs compromise stance on reparative therapy


Yesterday, I reported the action taken by the House of Delegates of the American Academy of Physician Assistants regarding reparative therapy. I want to provide more detail in this post. As you can see from the association’s daily conference newsletter, the resolution was changed to reflect AMA policy and thus was a step back from the exclusive proposal submitted by the Committee on Diversity.

The policy described above (slightly different from what I reported yesterday) is:

The AAPA opposes psychiatric treatment specifically directed at sexual orientation, such as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.

The original resolution proposed by the Committee on Diversity discounted any evidence that demonstrated benefit for change therapies. I helped construct a substitute resolution that found support from some, but not enough of the delegates. The substitute resolution respected religious, and sexual orientation diversity.

Robert Spitzer supported the substitute resolution and provided a letter of support for it.

In the end, the delegates opted for a stance that opposes seeing homosexuality as an illness and coercing clients into counseling for their sexual orientation.

UPDATE: Apparently, the discussion regarding the various reparative therapy motions was intense. At one point, John Fields, president of the Vietnam Veterans Association of Physician Assistants read several paragraphs from the Spitzer letter on the floor. At that point, AAPA president Mary Ettari asked the Delegate Speaker to address the House of Delegates to question the source of the letter. According to Mr. Fields, sitting presidents rarely interrupt meetings to address the entire House. According to Ms. Ettari, she questioned the letter because she had not seen it before, it was not on letterhead and it was not signed in ink by Dr. Spitzer (there was a digital signature). Apparently by some miscommunication, the letter never did make it to the PA leadership. Ordinarily, colleagues would give each other some trust about such things, but the debate over this resolution seems to have eroded this usual stance.

UPDATE: The AAPA issued a news release today regarding a variety of actions taken at their convention. Thanks to David Roberts for pointing this out. The relevant point to this post is as follows:

The HOD voted to oppose attempts to “cure” homosexuality and adopted the following resolution about reparative therapy: “The American Academy of Physician Assistants opposes any psychiatric treatment directed specifically at changing sexual orientation, such as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual orientation.”

Physician Assistants group decides policy on reparative therapy

Today in Philadelphia, the American Academy of Physician Assistants debated and then decided a policy on reparative therapy. The AAPA’s Committee on Diversity originally proposed the following concise but inclusive statement:

The American Academy of Physician Assistants opposes the practice of treatments intended to alter sexual orientation.

This statement was an aspect of a resolution that I reported on over a month ago. The statement was so inclusive that it could have included even those who seek therapy to pursue behavioral change. A substitute resolution was offered that opposed coercive treatments but affirmed religious diversity.

After debate, the AAPA delegates voted 110 to 107 not to refer the matter to a study committee but instead affirmed the following policy:

The AAPA opposes, the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation.

Those in the know will recognize this language as being the same as the American Medical Association’s policy. The Committee on Diversity was handed a setback in the sense that all treatments were not opposed but rather those which are coercive and/or based on homosexuality being a mental disorder.

I hope to have more on this tomorrow.

Geneticist Francis Collins comments on Narth article

Exgaywatch is reporting an email exchange with geneticist Francis Collins of Human Genome Project fame. In it, Dr. Collins reacts to a NARTH article describing his views of on causes of homosexuality. You should read both the article on the NARTH website by Dr. Dean Byrd and then the response by Dr. Collins to get the context. I am going to reproduce Dr. Collins email to David Roberts at EGW:

It troubles me greatly to learn that anything I have written would cause anguish for you or others who are seeking answers to the basis of homosexuality. The words quoted by NARTH all come from the Appendix to my book “The Language of God” (pp. 260-263), but have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended. I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.

The evidence we have at present strongly supports the proposition that there are hereditary factors in male homosexuality — the observation that an identical twin of a male homosexual has approximately a 20% likelihood of also being gay points to this conclusion, since that is 10 times the population incidence. But the fact that the answer is not 100% also suggests that other factors besides DNA must be involved. That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable.

Your note indicated that your real interest is in the truth. And this is about all that we really know. No one has yet identified an actual gene that contributes to the hereditary component (the reports about a gene on the X chromosome from the 1990s have not held up), but it is likely that such genes will be found in the next few years.

This is a very clear picture of the current research that I agree with. This is what should be presented by all concerned when describing the research to clients, activist audiences, in churches and in the media.

SF Chronicle issues a revised correction on the adoption story

The San Francisco Chronicle has been criticized from all sides due to its recent article on adoptions. Today the paper ran a revised correction that puts some distance between Paul Cameron and Focus on the Family. It reads:

CLARIFICATION: In an article that ran on Page 1 on Monday about San Francisco’s campaign to get more gays and lesbians to adopt foster children — as well as an opposing evangelical campaign led by Focus on the Family to get more Christian families to adopt — the Chronicle quoted Paul Cameron, director of the Family Research Institute. The article should have noted that Cameron, who believes gays make unfit parents and self-published dozens of articles he said were based on his research, was expelled from the American Psychological Association in 1983 when he refused to subject his work to peer review. The article also should have reported that his Family Research Institute was named a hate group in 2006 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Writings by Cameron, who split with Focus on the Family many years ago, are still relied on by many conservative Christians.