Exodus on Friday accused the California professional therapy community, volunteer organizations, a task force on child abuse, and state Sen. Sheila Kuehl of “promoting pedophilia.”
The Exodus press release, which suffers from numerous errors in spelling and grammar and lacks any third-party substantiation, borrows accusations (without due credit) from religious right organizations including Traditional Values Coalition and antigay activist Randy Thomasson’s Campaign for California’s Families.
The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act is available online for examination, and so is Sen. Kuehl’s biography. But Exodus seems not to have taken time to read them — nor any professional analyses of the child-abuse bill.
For example, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists notes that the legislation enacts many of the recommendations of a task force that reviewed earlier child-abuse legislation. CAMFT offers a lengthy and informative summary of the pluses and minuses of the new bill, SB 1313:
- The legislation strengthens existing law against child abuse in some respects and weakens it in other respects. The bill encourages organizations to train their volunteers in professional care and rape/molestation prevention; nevertheless, the legislation may go too far in protecting non-profit organizations and their volunteers from zealous trial lawyers.
- The bill requires that accusations of abuse be rooted in more than mere hunch or hearsay.
- Perhaps most disturbingly for the religious right, the bill clarifies that “sexual assault” does not include certain consensual acts between two minors. Therapists support this clarification.
However, in the Exodus press release, exgay minister and media blogger Nancy Brown criticizes the legislation primarily due to the sexual orientation of Sen. Kuehl; Brown ignores the role of the California child-abuse task force.
Kuehl’s online bio says that she has authored 109 bills signed into law and that she has decades of experience working on family law after graduating with a law degree from Harvard University and teaching at Loyola, UCLA and USC.
After skimming the bare surface of Kuehl’s legislative record and waging a personal attack on Kuehl’s “maternal instincts,” Brown then contradicts herself — guessing that Kuehl must be ignorant of molestation and abuse issues despite an (undocumented) “large percentage of same sex attracted women who report having been abused.” Brown concludes that Kuehl is behaving criminally for advocating something that the proposed child-abuse act does not, in fact, do: “suggest that those most vulnerable be penalized for their helplessness.”
Beyond its victimology, Brown’s article suggests a casual and somewhat careless disrespect for compromises inherent in the field of family law, as well as Exodus’ often-expressed resentment toward well-educated and successful advocates unless they are deemed friends of the religious right. Brown’s own limited bio does not indicate any educational background, legal training, or professional accomplishment.