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Washington DC next to ban attempts to turn gay kids straight

Washington lawmakers Mary Cheh has introduced a ban on so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapies for minors in the District of Columbia which has the overwhelming support of her fellow lawmakers
Mary Cheh
Photo by IFCAR

Washington DC Democrat Mary Cheh hopes that attempts to cure gay kids of their sexual orientation can be banned in the district housing the United States capitol and has put forward a bill to stop ‘ex-gay’ therapists from treating minors.

The Councilwoman introduced her Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013 1 October which will ban ‘sexual orientation change efforts with an individual who is under the age of 18.’

Under the bill, so-called ‘ex-gay’ proponents would face the same penalties as other mental health professionals who engage in professional malpractice.

In moving forward with the bill Cheh noted that there was wide consensus among mental health authorities about these kinds of attempted therapies.

‘Every major mental health organization in America — including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the National Association of Social Workers — has discredited this form of therapy,’ Cheh said.

‘Not only are these therapies without scientific merit, but these practices have proven to have long-lasting, damaging effects on children. Many children who have participated in conversion therapy suffer from increased risk for suicide, depression, anxiety, shame, and self-hatred.

‘By adopting this legislation, we will send a strong message that the District does not believe our LGBT children are sick. Moreover, we are recommitting ourselves to ensuring that no child is subject to mental abuse masquerading as science.’

The bill has overwhelming support in the Council, with all members but a singe Democrat signing on as co-sponsors.

If the bill passes Washington DC will join New Jersey and California as jurisdictions banning efforts to try to cure minors of their sexuality.

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