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N.Y. state lawmakers introduce bill to ban reparative therapy for minors

Monday, April 29, 2013
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ALBANY, N.Y — Two New York City state lawmakers on Friday introduced a bill that seeks to ban the controversial practice of gay-to-straight “conversion” therapy, also known as reparative therapy.

The measure, introduced by state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Rep. Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), would bar mental health providers from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18, and is modeled after a similar measure in California.

Hoylman, the state senate’s only openly gay lawmaker, said the controversial treatment is not good for the individual or society.

“It not only is impossible, but it is detrimental to young people to attempt to convert them,” he said. “It also increases the stigma in society and creates a culture of unacceptance for young gay and lesbian people.”

Glick, who became the first openly lesbian lawmaker in New York when she was elected in 1990, noted that LGBT youth make up 40 percent of the homeless population in America, and they are often kicked out of their homes by parents who want them to change their orientation.

“The rate of suicide, the level of depression, the kind of bullying in school that is focused on homophobic epithets, even when students clearly are not gay,” she said. “So there’s clearly an issue about being more supportive toward gay youth. And then you have folks who have made a business out of this alleged ability to make gay people straight.”

Opponents has argued that bans on reparative therapy undermine parental rights.

The controversial practice has been dismissed by every mainstream health and welfare organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers.

Last week, John Paulk, the former chairman of Exodus International, a Christian ministry devoted to performing “reparative therapy,” formally renounced his past and says he is “truly, truly sorry” for the pain he’s caused by advocating that gays could change their sexual orientation through prayer and therapy.

The California measure is currently on hold while a federal court weighs in on its constitutionally after two separate lawsuits were filed contesting the law.

A similar bill is making its way through the New Jersey state legislature.

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