Spreading A Good Idea

NY and WA Lawmakers Think About Copying NJ’s Conversion Therapy Ban

New Jersey’s decision to ban conversion therapy for minors is prompting other states to consider the same. Across the Hudson, legislators in New York are pushing for passage of a similar measure, which has been introduced but is currently stalled.

“Conversion therapy is among the worst frauds in history and has been discredited by the American Psychological Association and other … leading mental health organizations,” said Brad Hoylman, the state’s only openly gay senator.

Under the New York measure, mental health providers would be barred from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18. Anyone who violates the law faces a citation for unprofessional conduct and possible licensing sanctions.

On the other side of the country, Washington State Rep. Marko Liias is urging the state legislature there to pass a ban similar to New Jersey’s. Liias had previously tried without success to get legislation passed that would have the Department of Health establish a work group to come up with recommendations about conversion therapy.

“I think it’s time to take a fresh look at the issue,” Liias said. “Having another state ban it – particularly one with a conservative governor – makes me want to see if we should take the step to actually prohibit it.”

Photo credit: Lower Manhattan Democrats

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  • Dakotahgeo

    Is there ANYTHING that ISN’T fraudulent among the conservatives, political or religious, that would merit any grace whatsoever? I rather doubt it! And no one is really surprised. In fact, … we, the general public expect it! No surprise there.

  • Caleb in SC

    At first blush, I thought this was a great idea, but on reflection, I’m not sure it is going to change anything. It may ban gay conversion therapy in the offices of right wing psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health therapists, but, under the First Amendment, I’m not sure it can touch gay conversion therapy related to a church. Instead of calling it gay conversion therapy, these wacko churches will label it “religious instruction” and basically shield it from the law’s reach.

  • mykelb

    The best way to ban conversion therapy would be to pass laws stating the absolute separation of church and state. NO TAXES TO BE GIVEN TO ANY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER ON PAIN OF DEATH. This would stop all tax monies going to fake counseling centers of every kind.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @mykelb: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

  • Entropyguy

    @Caleb in SC: Well, yes. But it’s better than doing nothing at all. And making it a legal fact that conversion therapy is medical bullshit is worthy in and of itself.

  • technicolornina

    @Caleb in SC: On one hand, you’re right. I spent five years praying to be straight based on information I’d gleaned from my pastor’s sermons because I was terrified to tell anyone in the church that I “needed help”. But on the other, keep in mind that this is going to do two things:

    1) It’s going to put this sham into the media spotlight for YEARS. We have fifty states and every time one of them puts on its big-boy pants, it’s going to be covered nationwide (case in point, I learned about six states granting marriage equality from local news–and I almost never watch local news). Parents who might have been thinking about it may look at it and go “uh-oh, I better do it through the church!” BUT . . . they may also keep hearing those phrases. “Condemned by the APA.” “Found to be harmful and detrimental to mental health in multiple studies.” “Increased risk of depression, alcoholism, and suicide.” Those words can be powerful.

    2) It’s going to turn the tide of information on the Internet, especially with the exodus (sorry, I had to) of Exodus. A parent who logs on for information and finds a solid wall of “THIS CRAP IS BAD FOR YOUR KID AND IT’S FAKE SCIENCE” is going to be swayed, except in the most extreme of cases (and in those cases we need to stand by to welcome the child with open arms when they duck mom and dad and come looking for real information so that when they join the community they can be safe and start to heal).

  • rand503

    @Caleb in SC: Actually, I believe it does change things. If reparation therapy is so bad it must be banned for minors, then what’s good about it? Could it be damaging to adults as well? At the least, there is some controversy about it.

    These are the questions I hope people will ask themselves before they enter sign up with a quack. And it is precisely these reasons the quacks and frauds are fighting it. It’s a slow death knell for their profession.

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