Experts: Evidence Shows We Must Respect Rights of Religiously-Motivated to Change Orientation


Stanton L. Jones is the Provost of Wheaton College and has served a three-year term on the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association. Mark A. Yarhouse is the Rosemarie Scotti Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University.

They write in Mercatornet about the results of a longitudinal study they conducted over a period of seven years, now published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy:

"...the study suggests that since change seems possible for some, then all should respect the integrity and autonomy of persons seeking to change their sexual orientation for moral, religious, or other reasons, just as we respect those who for similar reasons desire to affirm and embrace their sexual orientation.

This requires that space be created in religious and professional circles for individuals to seek sexual orientation change or sexual identity change with full information offered about the options and their potential risks. We would do well to put as much information as possible in the hands of consumers so that they are able to make informed decisions and wise choices among treatment options.

The results also suggest that it would be premature for professional mental health organizations to invalidate efforts to change sexual orientation and unwanted same-sex erotic attractions."