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Campaign aims to end gay-to-straight conversion therapy within five years

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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SAN FRANCISCO — An LGBT legal advocacy group hopes to bring an end to the controversial practice of “gay-to-straight” conversion therapy in U.S. within the next five years.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) on Tuesday announced the launch of “#BornPerfect: The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy,” a campaign that would encompass legislation and court challenges aimed at outlawing the practice on minors.

The campaign would also focus on raising public awareness on how conversion therapy — also referred to as reparative therapy — harms LGBT children.

“Few practices hurt LGBT youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through so-called conversion therapy, which can cause depression, substance abuse, and even suicide,” the NCLR said, in a statement.

“But some mental health providers continue to subject young LGBT people to these practices—also known as “reparative therapy,” “ex-gay therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts” — even though they have been condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country.”

The American Psychological Association and other major health organizations have condemned such counseling, which generally try to change a person’s sexual orientation or to lessen their interest in engaging in same-sex sexual activity.

The groups say the practice should not be used on minors because of the danger of serious psychological harm.

The campaign comes just weeks after the Texas Republican Party endorsed the practice as a means to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

Legislation banning conversion therapy was approved in California in 2012 and in New Jersey in 2013, but legal challenges followed shortly after the bills were signed into law.

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California’s ban was upheld at the federal level, and by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but was put on hold pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Another federal judge has upheld the New Jersey law.

A proposed ban was voted down in Illinois in April, and blocked from a vote in the GOP-led New York state Senate last week.

The NCLR says it is working with legislators and LGBT leaders in more than a dozen other states and helping bring similar protections to the rest of the country.

An overview of active laws and current legislation is here.

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