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Letter to the editor: Conversion therapy

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This letter is a response to House Bill 1598 that is intended to protect conversion therapy and is addressed to the author's state representative. It is a satirical take on House Bill 1598. 

Dear Rep. Martin,

Hello. I am a resident of your district. I was recently made aware of HB1598, authored by Rep. Sally Kern. I’m writing to give my opinion as a citizen of this great state before it comes up on the floor for a vote.

This bill would prevent the state from regulating so-called “conversion therapy," which is used when a parent thinks their child is acting too gay. This is done, according to Rep. Kern, to protect “parental rights.” Now, it is well documented that conversion therapy does not actually prevent homosexuality, but it does amount to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of children and leaves serious lasting damage to the child who endures it. I can only assume that your colleague was aware of this, since she is the chair of the Children, Youth and Family Services Committee. This being said, it becomes clear that the bill is intended to protect the “parental right” of Oklahoma parents to physically, psychologically, and sexually abuse their children if they think their child is acting too gay.

I know that many in this state, both citizens and politicians, are fervent supporters of all forms of freedom and opponents of all forms of government intervention. So I must ask: why stop there? Why should the government allow parents to abuse their children only in specific circumstances? Now, I don’t have children and have no desire to harm children in any way, but I am a big fan of freedom. If this bill is really to protect “parental rights” then it should include the following measures:

1. The immediate elimination of the Oklahoma Department of Child Protective Services.

2. Legalization of child abuse for ANY reason, not just suspected homosexuality.

3. Preventing publically funded hospitals and schools from reporting suspected child abuse.

4. Legally barring law enforcement from intervening in child abuse cases.

5. Removing all parents from the Oklahoma State sex offender registry, but only if the person they abused was one of their children.

6. Require 911 operators to hang up when receiving any reports of child abuse.

Adding these items to HB1598 is the only way to protect “parental freedom," and will show the country — no, the world — what Oklahoma stands for.

Please amend this legislation and keep the government out of the private lives of its citizens.


Ben Lehman

Norman, OK

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