By Cheryl Wetzstein
A movement to ban the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” that counsels gay children and teens on how to become straight is meeting with unexpected problems after the easy passage of bills in California and New Jersey.
State lawmakers in New York are planning a public hearing on a bill to ban conversion therapy in the state this month, but similar measures have floundered in as many as nine other state legislatures.
Supporters insist they still have political momentum to pass more bans on sexual orientation change efforts for minors, with one top campaigner saying the delays at the state level are only a temporary setback.
“This is just the beginning of work on this issue and our prospects look good,” said Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, which denounces the therapy as “anti-gay malice disguised as medicine.”
“Each year, the public grows more accepting and increasingly sees ‘ex-gay’ programs as backward and barbaric…,” said Mr. Besen. “It is my view that the sun is beginning to set on this form of psychological torture.”
But Christopher Doyle, a licensed clinical professional counselor who supports sexual orientation change efforts, said the bills were losing because of a coordinated effort by ex-gays to introduce themselves to lawmakers and talk up the potential benefits of the practice.
Ex-gays are explaining what the therapy is and why it is a positive experience, said Mr. Doyle, president of Voice of the Voiceless and a former homosexual.
They are also arguing that there can’t be a scientific basis for the claim that the therapy is harmful to children since “there is actually not one study” on sexual orientation change efforts and the impact on minors, Mr. Doyle said. These discussions have “created doubt about the legitimacy of these bills” among lawmakers.
Read more: Washington Times
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