Following California’s Lead, Lawmakers Introduce Bills Against ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

Just two weeks ago, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed the first law in the nation banning anti-gay “reparative therapy” for minors.

Now, states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey may follow suit.

Reparative therapy, also known as conversion therapy or “ex-gay” therapy, claims to “cure” LGBT people and make them straight, but the practice is widely discredited and has been found to do more harm than good. Some of the biggest advocates for ex-gay therapy have recently changed their positions, including Robert Spitzer, who authored a study commonly cited to support conversion therapy, and the president of Exodus International, a Christian group that has existed largely to help gay people “turn straight.”

After Gov. Brown’s historic move for California, other states are clearly taking note. Pennsylvania State Rep. Babette Josephs of Philadelphia has introduced a bill that would prohibit mental health providers from giving minors conversion therapy. Also, in New Jersey, openly gay Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace has said he will introduce similar legislation.

“No reputable mainstream mental health association considers being gay, lesbian or bisexual a disease or mental illness. Yet, that is exactly the premise behind this kind of therapy – a wrong assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder that can be ‘corrected,’” Josephs said, in a statement.

“As homosexuality is not a disorder, so attempts to ‘convert’ the sexual orientation of anyone, particularly a minor, threatens the individual’s short- and long-term health and well-being,” she said.

State Rep. Josephs has already introduced her bill, while Assemblyman Eustace’s could be introduced at any time. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we see laws like this all over the country.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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