2017 to 2018: Reparative Therapy:
Trying to Convert Gays to
Laws banning therapy
2017-MAY: Nevada: The most recent U.S. anti-conversion therapy law:
During 2015, State Senator David Parks (D-NV) introduced bill SB 353 to prohibit licensed therapists in the state from using conversion therapy on minors. The bill did not proceed.
He reintroduced the bill in the current session as SB 201. It defines "conversion therapy" broadly as:
"... any practice or treatment that seeks to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person, including, without limitation, a practice or treatment that seeks to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward persons of the same gender." 2
The original text of the bill was amended to allow religious groups and clergy to engage in conversion therapy or similar discussions with children.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law. It will go become effective on 2018-JAN-01.
Senator Parks thanked the Governor, saying:
"Nevada has a long record of passing progressive legislation to protect the LGBTQ community with bipartisan support, and I want to thank Governor Sandoval for signing this critical legislation to protect LGBTQ youth. Banning conversion therapy makes Nevada a safer place for children who are at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even suicide." 3
2017-JUL: United Kingdom: The General Synod of the Church of England promotes a ban on conversion therapy:
The Church's National Assembly is holding its annual meeting in York. They voted to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy initiated by by The Royal College of Psychiatrists and others, which condemn the practice. That statement describes Conversion Therapy as unethical, potentially harmful and as having "no place in the modern world."
Jayne Ozanne from the Diocese of Oxford initiated the motion. During the debate, she said:
"In short, conversation therapy is harmful, dangerous and just doesn't work. ... "People may be able to alter their behaviour but they can never alter their innate desire. ... This debate is actually quite simple. Do we trust our medical health professions and academics (including many sincere godly Christians) to know what they are talking about? Should we listen to the voices of those we and others have unwittingly harmed? Should we learn from our mistakes, and seek to protect future generations from the sort of damage that was done to me and so many others?"
Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, said: "The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night."
Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, said: "As the world listens to us the world needs to hear us say that LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a crime. LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sickness. And LGBTI+ orientation and identity is not a sin. We must distinguish between an ascetic and a therapeutic approach. In the Church we are certainly called to help one another to conform their lives to Jesus Christ and to live lives of holiness, but we do not need to engage people in healing therapy if they are not sick."
The votes in the House of Bishops were 36 for, 1 against, 0 abstentions; in the House of Clergy: 135 for, 25 against, 13 abstentions; in the House of Laity: 127 for, 48 against, 13 abstentions. 4
2018-MAR-31: Change.org is promoting a petition to ban reparative therapy in British Columbia, Canada:
Change.org reported that the Provinces of:
- Manitoba and Ontario have issued regulations that prohibit doctors from billing the provinces' Health Insurance Plans for the cost of conversion therapy.
Kyra Saliken has sponsored a petition on Change.org to encourage British Columbia and the other Canadian provinces to follow suit. 5
2018-MAY: California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) is sponsoring Bill AB 2943:
It was passed by the California Legislature, and would end the practice of paid conversion therapy in the state for clients of all ages. It is now headed to the State Senate. It would declare SOCE efforts to be a deceptive business practice. This would expose SOCE therapists who charge for their conversion therapy to lawsuits from their patients. Douglas Haldeman, a psychologist in Walnut Creek and the former president of the California Psychological Association said:
"The consensus has been very clear for decades that conversion therapy is ineffective ... and can harm people. It’s snake oil." 6
Supporters of SOCE therapy were not impressed.
Rev. Mike Rogers, a pastor at a Baptist church near Sacramento said:
"My Bible and my gospel is not a fraud. This bill is."
Other supporters have claimed that this bill could result in the Bible being banned! That appears most unlikely in view of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of religious belief, speech, and assembly. 6
2018-MAY-15: Governor of Maryland signs anti-reparative therapy bill into law:
Governor Larry Hogan (R) signed a bill into law that made Maryland the 11th U.S. state to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth. It took effect on OCT-01. It prohibits licensed practitioners in the state from attempting to change their minor patients' sexual orientation. Reparative therapy given in church settings will still be allowed.
Mark Procopio, executive director of the advocacy group Free State Justice, said the new law
"... will really protect LGBT youth and send a really strong, affirming message."
Mathew Shurka is a strategist with the Born Perfect campaign. It is attempting to make conversion therapy illegal nationwide. He called the new state law
"a really important" step." 7
This topic continues in Part 6
Related essays on this web site which you might find of interest:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Image downloaded from pexels-photo-1317534.jpeg on Pixels at:https://www.pexels.com/ Photo is by Sharon McCutcheon and is free for personal and commercial use.
Andrew Davey, "The State of Equality: A Conversation on LGBTQ Civil Rights in #NVLeg. with Senator David Parks," Nevada Forward, 2017-APR-10, at: http://nevadaforward.com/
Justin Haskins, "Nevada bans therapists from trying to talk kids out of being gay," The Blaze, 2017-APR-21, at: http://www.theblaze.com/
"General Synod backs ban on conversion therapy," The Church of England, 2017-JUL-08, at: https://www.churchofengland.org/
"Ban Conversion Therapy in B.C.," Change.com, at: https://mail.google.com/
Casey Tolan, "As a gay teen, Evan Low thought about changing his sexuality. Now he’s fighting conversion therapy in California," Mercury News, 2018-MAY-27, at: https://www.mercurynews.com/
John Riley, "Maryland governor signs conversion therapy bill into law," Metro Weekly, 2018-MAY-15, at: https://www.metroweekly.com/
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