Protecting Children from Reparative Therapy

Protecting Children from Reparative Therapy (2014 HB 1135)

POFEV supports HB 1135, which would protect children from undergoing "reparative therapy" to attempt to change a child's sexuality or gender identity.  In testimony before the General Assembly committee hearing HB 1135, POFEV made a strong statement equating forced "reparative therapy" to soul theft:

"[O]ur orientations, in sexuality and gender ... are expressions of our deepest yearnings, of our fundamental identity, of our personal, specific, and unique human natures. ... If someone seeks—against our will or in the case of youth without our informed consent or power to say “no”—to change that fundamental nature, they are engaged in soul theft."

The full text of POFEV's statement is below, and you also can download it here.


POFEV_logo_for_web.jpgStatement of Rev. Dr. Robin H. Gorsline, President & CEO

In support of HB 1135

January 20, 2014

robin.gorsline@pofev.org 804/519-3196

I am here today, representing POFEV: People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, to speak in support of HB 1135, because we believe it is a necessary step for the Commonwealth in order to stop “soul theft.”

Sexual orientation, like gender identity, is deeply rooted in what psychologists and other experts in human behavior call the psyche.

I am not such an expert. But, as a pastor and a trained theologian, I study the human spirit, the soul, every day of my life.

Sexual orientation has become a short-hand way for many for talking about sex and sexual acts. They are important, in and of themselves, for human well-being.

But our orientations, in sexuality and gender—separate but very connected realms of human living—are more than sex acts. They also are expressions of our deepest yearnings, of our fundamental identity, of our personal, specific, and unique human natures. They help us manifest our souls in all that we do and all that we are. Indeed, the feelings and expressions connected with that fundamental identity lead us to our soul mate.

If someone seeks—against our will or in the case of youth without our informed consent or power to say “no”—to change that fundamental nature, they are engaged in soul theft.

I know people who have experienced the attempts of people to steal their souls in this way. Often, they are unable to talk about it openly, even long after they have managed to free themselves and retrieve their souls. Their lives have been profoundly changed, and not for the better. They bear a permanent scar that is very tough to heal.

I also know that people who attempt this believe they are serving God. I respect that, and I care for them, but I do not accept their claim. Instead, they are engaged in undoing the very handiwork of God in creating a precious soul—something I believe God does for each of us.

Thus, to perform this theft on young people, who are subject to adult authority and generally do not have the wherewithal to withstand or object successfully, is particularly odious.

POFEV is deeply grateful to Del. Patrick Hope for offering this important legislation, and we pray that the General Assembly will adopt it in this session.  We need this law, now, to protect our youth from becoming victims of soul theft.

POFEV (People of Faith for Equality in Virginia), P.O. Box 4919, Richmond, VA 23220 • www.facebook.com/pofev

email info@pofev.org