John M. Becker

Lawmakers in Two States Introduce 'Ex-Gay' Bans

Filed By John M. Becker | January 20, 2015 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: conversion therapy, ex-gay, ex-gay myth, ex-gay therapy, Illinois, pray away the gay, reparative therapy, Virginia

pray-away-the-gay-sara-whitman.jpgToday in Virginia, Delegate Patrick Hope and Senator Louise Lucas -- both Democrats -- introduced a bill that would outlaw "ex-gay" torture for minors. The National Center for Lesbian Rights reports, via press release:

The bill reflects the unanimous view of medical, mental health, and child welfare experts that attempts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity are ineffective and unsafe, putting youth at risk of severe long-term health impacts, including depression, substance abuse, and even suicide.

"Today, more than ever, it is clear that state legislatures need to step up to the plate to protect LGBT youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames. "We commend Delegate Hope and Senator Lucas, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Virginian children are able to grow up in communities and families where they are loved for exactly who they are."

In related news, Equality Illinois announced today that a similar bill was introduced in that state last week:

Equality Illinois on Tuesday announced an initiative to pass legislation banning ineffectual and dangerous conversion therapy during this new term of the Illinois General Assembly in order to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago introduced the bill on Friday. House Bill 217, the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act, would make it illegal for mental health care providers to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with anyone under the age of 18. A Senate version will be introduced soon, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston...

"It is tragic," said Rep. Cassidy, "that LGBT youth suffer at the hands of so-called experts whose therapies have been refuted by every legitimate medical and mental health organization. That is why my bill would label the therapy as 'unprofessional conduct' and subject the perpetrator to disciplinary action."

Literally every single major mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals denounces "ex-gay" therapy and efforts to change sexual orientation, because they don't work and often cause serious harm to victims. California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. all ban the practice for minors, and lawmakers have introduced similar bans in more than a dozen states.

"Pray Away the Gay" image credit: Sara Whitman.

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