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Massachusetts

Mass. legislature considers proposed ban on conversion therapy for minors

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

BOSTON — A proposed measure to ban controversial gay-to-straight “conversion therapy” on minors in received its first public scrutiny in Massachusetts on Tuesday afternoon in a session of the state legislature’s Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

The bill would prohibit any licensed professional in Massachusetts from engaging in any practice that seeks impose a change in the “sexual orientation or gender identity” of anyone under 18.

Any licensed professional violating the ban would be subject to discipline that could include the suspension or revocation of their license to practice.

The ban, sponsored by Medford Democratic state Rep. Carl Sciortino, would apply to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses and other mental health and human services professionals.

“Passage of this bill will send an important message that sexual orientation and gender identity do not need changing. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender is normal and healthy,” said Ben Klein, a senior attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), in testimony before the committee.

Also appearing before state lawmakers were representatives from LGBT advocacy groups MassEquality and Fenway Health.

The practice of conversion therapy, also referred to as “reparative” therapy, has been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

An August 2009 report by the American Psychological Association Task Force on “Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation,” stated that “efforts to change someone’s sexual orientation are unlikely to be successful and involve major risks of harm to an individual both mentally and physically, contrary to the claims from professionals who subscribe to the practice.”

Most healthcare professionals now agree that same-sex attraction, and orientation(s) are considered normal and positive variants of human sexuality which don’t indicate mental or developmental disorders.

Last month, Exodus International, the nation’s oldest and largest Christian ministry devoted to performing the therapy announced that it is shuttering its operations after more than three decades.

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14 more reader comments:

  1. Good deal.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:12pm
  2. Conversion therapy should be banned for all ages

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:15pm
  3. Ban it already. We all know it doesn´t work

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:16pm
  4. Any therapist that engages in this type of therapy should lose their license.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:18pm
  5. Didn´t we try this in the 50´s? It didn´t work then! America it´s 2013. America we can´t change color, race and sexual orientation! And I thought we were the educated ones? Lol

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:18pm
  6. About time.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:20pm
  7. Long past due.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:31pm
  8. A 3rd state? It feels like it´s happening faster than it is. California considered the ban around this past February, right? Behold, victims who have waited so long for justice! This branch of quackery is breaking off! The sexual orientation change effort industry is imploding! GLORIOUS DAY!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:41pm
  9. So now what about these yahoos who are doing and calling it “religious counseling “

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:55pm
  10. ban it completely for everyone. no half measures.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 10:56pm
  11. Let right be done.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11:04pm
  12. It´s pathetic something like this even exists to be banned…what about banning shoving religion down a childs mouth when they can´t tell the difference betwix reality and fantasy. When they still believe in Santa and the Easter bunny and have imaginary friends then perhaps we wouldn´t hear about this kinda shite…well I can dream can´t I.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11:20pm
  13. I think it is better to spend resources on education on the failure of these “therapies”.

    Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 8:57am
  14. While Boston moves to save gay minors from harm, religious not cases in New Orleans get to be on the board of education…http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2013/07/orleans_parish_school_board_vp.html

    Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 2:25pm