Arizona will not mandate so-called "conversion" classes in public schools this fall for students who are gay. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
The story that broke this week on the website National Report about mandatory conversion therapy in the state's more than 2,000 public schools is nothing more than pure fantasy spun out of thin air. There is no such law or regulation. But there were enough references to real people and news organizations in the fake story to provoke calls of concern to the State Department of Education and even the governor's office, forcing staffers to assure those inquiring that the whole thing was not real.
The report ticked off gubernatorial spokesman Andrew Wilder. "It's a completely phony and vile report to deceive readers," Wilder said. "Its authors should be ashamed."
It may have been difficult to deduce the story was fake from reading it. The original posting contains no disclaimer that the story is false. It even includes what is said to be a quote by Governor Brewer to CNN saying the program will result in formerly gay children - quote - wondering why God made them defective.
In fact, the organization that was listed as running the program, People Can Change, actually does exist. That forced the group to post a prominent disclaimer on its own website calling the story a fake. And while the organization says it does provide peer support for men who have - quote - unwanted same-sex attractions - unquote - it does not provide programs or services for minors.