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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 23, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 43
NCLR and HRC release draft law against conversion therapy
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NCLR and HRC release draft law against conversion therapy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Only days after the Obama administration announced its support for outlawing so-called conversion therapy, two LGBT rights groups have issued draft legislation to ban the practice.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released what they call 'sample legislation' on October 20.

The draft measure is based on best practices in the jurisdictions that have already banned conversion therapy, laws introduced but not yet passed in 20 states, the federal Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act introduced by California Rep. Ted Lieu, and the experience of legal experts working on the issue.

'This sample legislation is the culmination of two decades working to end conversion therapy, three years helping states take legislative steps to protect youth from these ineffective and harmful practices, and a truly exceptional coalition of legal experts from across the country,' NCLR staff attorney Samantha Ames said in a statement.

'What has emerged from this extraordinary process is a bill that is both true to our shared values and legally airtight. Moving forward, we could not be more excited to work with state legislators and equality groups equipped with this powerful tool to end conversion therapy once and for all.'

'This important sample legislation comes at a critical time in our fight to protect our nation's LGBTQ youth from the dangerous practice of conversion therapy,' added HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

'A junk pseudoscience that amounts to nothing more than child abuse, this so-called therapy has been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health association. We look forward to partnering with state legislators and key stakeholders in working to pass these vitally important measures to stop this horrific practice once and for all.'

Five jurisdictions - California; New Jersey; Washington, D.C.; Oregon; and Illinois - now protect LGBT minors from conversion therapy, and legislators from several other states plan introduction of similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.

A bill banning conversion therapy passed the Washington state House this year but was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by passing laws, filing lawsuits, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

On October 15, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, issued a report calling for an end to conversion therapy and urging family acceptance of LGBTQ children. The findings were strongly endorsed by the White House.

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