By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com July 17 2013 12:40 PM ET
Massachusetts may join the growing list of states that will outlaw gay "conversion therapy" being practiced among minors.
Testimony in favor of the ban was heard by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday. H 154 was sponsored by Rep. Carl Sciortino, and would bar licensed health care professionals from engaging in any type of therapy to "cure" a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, for those under 18 years of age.
"So-called conversion therapy is a disgraceful chapter in our society's mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people," said Ben Klein, a senior attorney for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which is based in Massachusetts. "It’s been proven ineffective, it defies modern medicine, and it inflicts serious psychological harm on young people.”
The American Psychiatric Association has deemed conversion therapy to be an unproven practice, which it officially opposes.
California passed such a bill last year, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is considering whether to sign or veto a similar bill, which passed by the legislature in the spring. Massachusetts' bill follows the shutting down of one of the biggest "ex-gay" organizations, Exodus International, which also issued an apology for causing decades of trauma to those who underwent therapy.