A children's book that implies being gay is a reversible condition caused by childhood sexual abuse has been submitted to the Supreme Court as part of an amicus brief in support of California's same-sex marriage ban. The children's book submitted by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), titled "Alfie's Home," is written by Richard Cohen, a self-professed sexual reorientation specialist who tours the country talking about his therapy -- something he says can help gay and lesbians "change their orientation." PFOX is a group that argues that homosexuality can be "cured" through therapy or self-determination, the Washington Post notes. In the brief, PFOX addresses the question of whether or not the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the state of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. PFOX argues that gays and lesbians can not be part of a "protected class" because being gay is a choice: The life stories of thousands of ex-gays evidences conclusively that sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic. The story of "Alfie's Home," published in 1993, describes a young boy who is neglected by his parents and is sexually abused by his "Uncle Pete." Later, the boy grows up and is teased by his classmates for being gay. Luckily, Cohen writes, a therapist realizes that he is not gay at all, just in need of a father's love. His dad hugs him (something Cohen espouses as part of his "touch therapy" program), and the boy magically turns straight: Now, I realize that I'm not gay. Spending time with my Dad really healed my heart. All I needed was his time, touch and talk. Cohen's book claims to provide "evidence" that gays can change. However, Rachel Maddow notes that Cohen is not licensed by any American or any other licensing body whatsoever." Reparative therapy for minors (also known as gay conversion therapy) was recently banned in California, pending a challenge in the court system. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on two same-sex marriage related cases this March, one regarding the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 gay marriage ban and the other the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
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