By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com September 17 2013 3:59 PM ET
State representatives Brian Sims and Gerald Mullery have announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban the use of so-called ex-gay therapy on youth in Pennsylvania.
Sims, the first out gay candidate elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, pointed to the states of New Jersey and California, which banned “conversion therapy” in the past year, as models.
"Just last month, New Jersey's Republican governor and Democratic legislature worked together to ban this practice,” Sims said in a statement. “The governor there cited 'a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression and suicide.' California has also passed a similar law. Pennsylvania children deserve the same protection.”
The 35-year-old politician stressed that the legislation would provide legal protections for minors against the "quackery" and psychological harm caused by this practice.
He noted that it has been 40 years since homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder and that several studies have indicated "that patients younger than 18 suffer from a multitude of harmful effects associated with this so-called therapy, including withdrawal and suicidal thoughts.”
“It's time to protect Pennsylvania children from this quackery that can inflict years of harm for those who manage to survive it,” Sims said.
Pennsylvania state senator Anthony Williams recently introduced a similar bill in his chamber of the legislature.