As The Advocate is reporting, Delaware has become the 15th state (plus the District of Columbia), to ban use of the discredited practice of "conversion therapy" or "ex-gay therapy" on those under 18 in an effort to "change" them into heterosexuals. The practice is universally condemned by legitimate mental health and medical associations even as it is lauded by Christofascists who view the "ex-gay myth" as a political tool and a cash cow for fraudulent "ministries" that fleece desperate parents seeking to turn their gay children straight. This past legislative session here in Virginia, similar bills - SB 245 and HB 363 - were killed by Republicans as once again Virginia Republicans in the General Assembly put self-prostitution to The Family Foundation (Virginia's largest hate group) ahead of science and the welfare of LGBT youth. Here are highlights from The Advocate:
Delaware Gov. John Carney today signed into law a bill prohibiting licensed mental health professionals in the state from subjecting minors to so-called conversion therapy, aimed at turning LGBT people straight. . . . .The signature by Carney, a Democrat, makes Delaware the 15th state, plus the District of Columbia, to ban use of the discredited practice on young people. The law classifies performing conversion therapy as unprofessional conduct and grounds for discipline, reports Delaware Public Media.
Rep. Debra Heffernan, one of the bill’s sponsors, told Delaware Public Media the practice “is pseudoscience and child endangerment, plain and simple.” Indeed, it has been repudiated as ineffective and harmful by every major medical and mental health group.
LGBT rights groups lauded the legislation. “So-called conversion therapy is dangerous, cruel and uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization,” said Human Rights Campaign national press secretary Sarah McBride, a Delawarean, in a press release. “Today’s signing is a critical step forward in the fight to ensure that Delaware is a safe and affirming state for all LGBTQ youth, and we hope that the values and progress reflected in this law guide the ongoing conversation in Delaware about protecting LGBTQ students from discrimination.
“This bill sends an important message that a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity is neither capable of being changed nor does it need to be changed, and efforts to try to do so in the name of therapy have no place in our state,” added Mark Purpura, an Equality Delaware board member, in the same release. “Instead, we should strive to understand and support each child’s unique personal identity to better empower them to thrive in school, at home, and in our community.
While much needed, the passage of such a bill in Virginia will likely be impossible until Democrats win a majority in both the Virginia Senate and the House of Delegates.Bans on the use of conversion therapy on minors have been signed into law in the past few months by Republican governors in Maryland and New Hampshire and a Democratic governor in Hawaii. However, Republican Gov. Paul LePage recently vetoed a similar bill in Maine.