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"Gay Conversion" Therapy Law
California just became the first state to ban a type of therapy that's aimed at changing the sexual orientation of anyone under 18. The Governor signed the bill into law on Monday. The law prohibits so-called "conversion therapy." The law goes into effect January 1st. According to the American Psychiatric Association, risks from such therapy include anxiety and self-destructive behavior.
However, there are supporters of that type of therapy in Oklahoma who believe it works. One organization in Oklahoma City believes sexuality can be changed through therapy. That group fears that California's new law could take that choice away from people.
When Stephen Black was a teenager, he considered himself gay.
"But I had an encounter with God and I had an encounter with the bible that made me realize I needed to take a different direction in life," said Stephen Black.
Now Black has been married for 26 years and says he's no longer sexually attracted to men.
"People can walk away from homosexuality," said Black.
After Black's life-changing experience, he became the Executive Director of First Stone Ministries. The group says it provides "pastoral care" to give people an alternative to same sex attraction.
"We offer a place where they can continue to develop their faith in God and walk away from what the scriptures communicate are sin," said Black.
Black says 70-percent of the people who have gone through the program at First Stone Ministries, no longer identify themselves as being gay.
Neil Spurgin went through the program at First Stone Ministries in the 1990's after struggling with his sexuality. Spurgin says the program did not work for him and he's no openly gay.
"There was no way that I was ever going to be able to be changed," said Spurgin. "It's who I am."
"These so-called therapists continue to take money out of the pockets of families who want their child to be happy and healthy and well, but sadly it's a big scam," said Scott J. Hamilton.
Scott J. Hamilton is the Executive Director of the Cimarron Alliance. He's also openly gay. Hamilton hopes California's passage of the "gay conversion" ban means other states will follow its lead.
"We are so proud of California for leading a way out of this despicable kind of mental health," said Hamilton.
Representative Sally Kern of Oklahoma City sent Fox 25 a statement about California's new law:
“I think California’s ban on gay conversion therapy for minors is wrong on two accounts," said Representative Sally Kern. "First, it violates parental rights because parents will no longer have the freedom to get counseling for their children if they wanted to do so. Secondly, this ban assumes that a person is born a homosexual and cannot change and there is no credible science proving that is the case. I personally know people who struggled with same sex attraction and went through therapy and counseling and are now living fulfilled heterosexual lives."
FOX 25 NEWS
Posted: Monday, October 1 2012, 09:56 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Moore post office service increases; streets open
May 24, 2013 17:29 GMT
MOORE, Okla. (AP) -- Public agencies in Moore have opened streets to residents and resumed mail delivery to as many addresses as possible.
At a news conference Friday, police said residents in the hardest-hit areas can go back into their neighborhoods without having to deal with police checkpoints. Some road closures may still occur as utility crews work to restore service.
Moore's postmaster said 85 percent of mail delivered from the Moore station is being delivered, and that mail deliveries from the Santa Fe station are up to 95 percent.
For those whose mail is not being delivered, those with ZIP codes 73153 and 73160 can pick up mail at the Airport Finance unit on Air Cargo Road.
Those in ZIP code 73170 can go to the Santa Fe station for their mail.
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