The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

On the question of "restorative therapy," there is no place for the President to be involved

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/10/2015 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 309 times Debate No: 73240
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




1. The President has announced his support for restrictions on the use of so-called "restorative therapy" or "gay conversion therapy."

2. Restorative therapy treats same sex orientation as a treatable disorder (without regard to the wisdom or efficacy of same).

3. Therapy constitutes a relationship between a provider of social and/or psychological services and a recipient of the same.

4. Therapy depends on communications, spoken and often also written, between therapist and recipient.

5. The relationship is protected by the constitutional right to freedom of association.

6. The communications are protected by the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and the press.

7. The president is barred by the First Amendment from interfering with the exercise of these rights.


President Obama chose to support this cause due to an online movement which was sparked by the suicide of a young transgender girl. The girl was placed in conversion therapy after beginning her transition from male to female. Her suicide note inspired many people to show their support for her and other LGBTQ youths who are either forced or coerced into conversion therapy. It is his right as an American to support any cause he chooses.

The movement is mainly to support LGBTQ "youth". Conversion therapy is not considered to be credible amongst the mental health community. It was used within the psychiatric community during the mid 20th Century when Homosexuality was considered to be and classified as a mental disorder. Conversion therapy was proven to have no effect and Homosexuality is no longer classified as a mental disorder and hasn't been for some time.
Homosexuality, Transsexuality, bisexuality, etc...have no treatment or cure. It is widely considered that someone is born gay or transgender.

Conversion therapy, especially when attempted on adolescents is often a cause of Depression, self loathing and has been known to lead to self mutilation, such as cutting, as well as suicide. Conversion therapy is a pseudo-science with no real factual evidence to back it up. Many older men and women who have experienced conversion therapy also deal with depression and anxiety and commit suicide. Some have families, but secretly lead a double life.

Conversion therapy has never been proven to work and has no scientific or psychological merit. On the other hand, self acceptance of one's sexuality very often leads to less depressive states, more fulfilled lives and overall happier individuals.
Debate Round No. 1


Your response questions the wisdom of, and denies the efficacy of, reparative therapy. In other words, you dispute the validity of reparative therapy.

This debate addresses more than political choices that Obama may make.

As a constitutional officer, he is sworn to defend the Constitution. The Constitution guarantees the right to believe foolish things, to teach foolish things, and to join with others in propagating foolish things. The essential doctrinal consideration of free expression regarding foolish opinions is that the right cure is not suppression but comparison.

You have not defended Obama having a constitutional power to interfere with these (However misguided they may be) exercises of rights guaranteed protected from federal interference.

I take it you concede the point.


Your original statement "restorative therapy is no place for the president to be involved". I do not have to defend whether it is constitutionally allowed for the president to ban any form of therapy, because that is not what he is doing. I am making the point that it is constitutionally allowed for an American citizen to voice his or her opinion, which is what he did. The discussion over this form of therapy is a place for all Americans to be involved.
As president he must defend the constitution. He must defend "freedom of speech" which allows him to talk about whatever topic or cause he sees fit. If he chooses to open a dialogue about this topic and his statement causes the American people to discuss it among themselves then he has done nothing unconstitutional. In fact, he has done something expected of the President which is to listen to the voice of the people and offer his thoughts. A group of concerned citizens brought this topic to his attention and the President answered them.
Whether or not he is constitutionally able to ban this therapy is not an issue.
Debate Round No. 2


Of course the President may use his "bully pulpit" to speak about his views on reparative therapy. It is, of course, ironic that he would use the "bully" pulpit in a matter where bullying people is so often the cause of pain, sadness, self-harm and even suicide.

As for what he is constitutionally permitted and prohibited, he is, first and foremost, a constitutional officer of the USA and his actions are just as chargeable to the USA as the classroom prayers of a teacher are chargeable to the school district that employs them.

He cannot, and should not, take any action inconsistent with the constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association. Those the Constitution prohibits.

He is free, I suppose, in his personal capacity to seek to oppress others. He simply behaves unseemly when he does.

As for whether he is constitutionally able to ban therapy, the subject was included in my opening argument.


RobMac forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by kman100 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro effectively pointed out that this debate is about constitutional viability, not the morality of the scientific correctness of conversion therapy. Also, ff by Con.