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Lawmakers in Minn., N.Y., introduce bills to ban conversion therapy for minors

Maryland, Virginia lawmakers also considering recently proposed bans
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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Lawmakers in Minnesota and New York have introduced legislation to prohibit the use of controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy on LGBT youth.

In New York, bills were jointly introduced in both houses of the legislature by State Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) and State Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), to ban the practice, also referred to as reparative therapy.

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“Banning this so-called ‘therapy’ is a bipartisan issue,” said Holyman. “It’s time for New York to protect our kids from this insidious practice, which has been thoroughly discredited by experts and poses a serious threat to the health and well-being of LGBT youth.”

“Trying to change someone’s true identity through so-called therapy is a dangerous practice that can seriously harm our LGBT youth,” said Nathan M. Schaefer, Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda, in a statement.

“Anyone who says they can change an LGBT person from being who they are is preying off of fear and confusion to sell a practice that doesn’t work and causes lasting harm,” said Schaefer.

In Minnesota, Rep. Susan Allen (DFL-Minneapolis) has also introduced that would ban the practice on LGBT youth in her state.

Allen said conversion therapy practitioners aren’t as overt as they once were but that the treatment is still widespread.

“If you look at over the period of the last five years, they’ve sort of changed the way they advertise their services,” Allen told Capitol Report. “It’s not as obvious anymore that some of the Christian, sort of, based mental health services that offer this type of therapy. It’s just sort of given that it’s part of their family therapy. So it is prevalent, and it is a nationwide problem.”

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Nationally, the fight against reparative therapy has been met with push back from faith activists who say the bill limits freedom of religion and speech.

Both California and New Jersey have banned the treatment but legal challenges followed shortly after the bills were signed into law.

California’s ban was upheld at the federal level, and by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Another federal judge ruled made a similar ruling in November upholding the New Jersey law.

Similar legislation has also been introduced recently in Maryland and Virginia.

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced similar bills last year.

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