John Carney, Delaware’s Governor, officially signed a law that bans gay conversion therapy in his state. Mental health professionals will no longer be able to use this on minors. It can no longer be recommended to families. Delaware becomes the 15th state to ban conversion therapy (if you count New York’s restrictions).
One of the bill’s sponsors, Debra Heffernan, said: “Conversion Therapy is pseudoscience and child endangerment, plain and simple.” Research does show that conversion therapy does not work. Additionally, experiencing social rejection for your sexual orientation significantly increases the likelihood of depression and suicide. There are also a host of medical organizations that oppose conversion therapy including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association.So this is some rare positive news in the current political climate. It is nice to see the trend of states banning this clearly harmful practice. It also is a symbolic representation of states caring about their LGBTQ citizens, which is a good thing as well.
However, the cynic in me reflects on just how low of a bar this is. The research has been around for awhile that this practice doesn’t work (same with the research on the negative impact of social rejection from your sexual orientation). So it’s kind of depressing that we are still putting these laws in place in 2018.
But I’ll take what I can get! It’s still a step in the right direction for sure and we need to celebrate wins like this whenever they come about! Hopefully, this will inspire more states to pass similar legislation. The United States has made significant progress in LGBTQ rights over the past decade or two. Even when things look bleak now, we need to remember that.