Politics

Oregon Becomes Third State To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

| by Ethan Brown
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On May 18, Democratic Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon signed into law a new bill which bans the controversial practice of gay conversion therapy, or a practice that attempts to change the sexual identification of participants who identify as gay or lesbian.

Gov. Brown, the first openly bisexual governor in the nation, signed the legislation that will ban licensed therapists from performing the controversial and discredited therapy methods on persons under the age of 18, CNN reported.

Oregon follows its west coast neighbor, California, and New Jersey as the only three states with bans on the practice. Washington D.C. has placed a ban on it, as well.

The American Psychological Associated has discredited the practice, saying the program elicits negative effects on its patients and there is no evidence to prove that the methods are successful.

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To avoid any future confrontation, the legislation exempts religious groups and organizations from the ban, only barring health practitioners from using the methods on patients.

While religious groups believe a federal ban would be an overreach of government power, President Barack Obama has publicly supported a ban, just as recent as last month.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” Valerie Jarrett, the President’s senior advisor and personal friend, said in a statement.

Obama’s public comments were in response to a petition on the White House’s website that advocated for ban after a transgender teen named Leelah Alcorn committed suicide. Alcorn identified herself as a female, but she alleged that religious therapists tried to convince her that she was a boy, the Huffington Post reported.

Sources: The Huffington Post, CNN

Photo Credit: Oregon Live, USA Today