John M. Becker

'Ex-Gay' Therapy Bans Introduced in Three States

Filed By John M. Becker | January 15, 2014 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: conversion therapy, ex-gay therapy, Marcus Bachmann, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, pray away the gay, reparative therapy

ex-gay-protest.jpgThe fight against so-called "ex-gay" therapy -- which falsely claims to change people from gay to straight but has been rejected by every single mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals -- is once again kicking into high gear: legislators in a trio of states have introduced bills that would ban the practice from being offered to minors.

Here's a quick round-up of all three.

Maryland

Last week, Democratic State Delegate Jon Cardin introduced House Bill 91, Maryland's proposed ban on "ex-gay" therapy. A spokesman for Cardin told the Washington Blade's Michael K. Lavers that the measure, which originally only included sexual orientation, will be amended to cover gender identity and expression. Cardin added, "There are numerous gay conversion therapy providers as well as organizations like the infamous International Healing Foundation located right here in Maryland advocating for what I consider very harmful conversion therapies. To me it is incredibly repulsive."

State Senator Rich Madaleno, who is also working on a major trans rights bill, is expected to introduce the "ex-gay" ban in that chamber. It has the backing of House and Senate leadership.

The other two states, New York and Minnesota, are after the jump.

New York

Bills banning "ex-gay" therapy for minors in the Empire State were jointly introduced in both houses of the New York Legislature on Monday by Assemblymember Deborah Glick and State Senators Brad Hoylman and Michael Gianaris, according to a press release from the Empire State Pride Agenda.

From the release:

"We are happy that Empire State Pride Agenda is advocating for this important legislation," said Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D - Manhattan). "Stronger laws to protect LGBT youth from being subjected to these unsafe and disproven practices are long overdue."

"Banning this so-called 'therapy' is a bipartisan issue. Since last spring, legislation prohibiting it has passed with bipartisan support in New Jersey and was upheld by a federal court in California," said Senator Brad Hoylman (D,WFP - Manhattan). "It's time for New York to protect our kids from this insidious practice, which has been thoroughly discredited by experts and poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of LGBT youth."

"We cannot wait any longer to protect our LGBT youth from ignorant attempts to change their sexual orientation," said Senator Michael Gianaris (D - Queens). "New York has a long history of leadership on LGBT issues and it is time to send a message that we will not stand for gay conversion therapy, a practice not based on science but on intolerance."

New York's bills are gender identity-inclusive as well.

Minnesota

marcus-bachmann-facebook-profile.jpgDemocratic State Representative Susan Allen introduced Minnesota's "ex-gay" therapy ban yesterday, Patch reports:

Allen said conversion therapy practitioners aren't as overt as they once were but that the treatment is still widespread.

"If you look at over the period of the last five years, they've sort of changed the way they advertise their services," Allen told Capitol Report host Julie Bartkey. "It's not as obvious anymore that some of the Christian, sort of, based mental health services that offer this type of therapy. It's just sort of given that it's part of their family therapy. So it is prevalent, and it is a nationwide problem."

Said Allen: "It's a practice that's been discredited. There's 40 years of research."

Under Allen's bill, state licensing boards would be in charge of monitoring mental health practitioners and disciplining them if they violate the terms of the law.

The most famous Minnesotan who'd be impacted if Allen's bill becomes law is Marcus Bachmann, the husband of U.S. Representative and former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, whose clinic I exposed in July 2011 for offering "ex-gay" therapy in an undercover hidden-camera investigation.

Let's hope Minnesota lawmakers force Bachmann to get out of the gay "conversion" business for good.

Watch Allen discuss her bill on Capitol Report below:

Watch this space for updates on all three states. I wonder which will be the first to join California and New Jersey in banning this insidious form of child abuse?

Photo via Flickr user exgaysurvivordan.


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