Three Pennsylvania lawmakers want to ban mental health care providers from engaging in anti-gay "conversion therapy" for minors.
State Reps. Brian Sims (D-Phila) and Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne) announced this week that they plan to introduce a bipartisan bill to ban the therapy for minors.
State Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D-Phila./Delaware) recently introduced a similar bill (S.B. 872).
California was the first state to enact such a ban, which was recently upheld in federal appeals court.
"Just last month, New Jersey's Republican governor and Democratic legislature worked together to ban this practice. 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," said Sims in a press release. Sims is a civil rights attorney and the first member of the Pennsylvania legislature elected as an out gay candidate.
Mullery said he equates the therapy to "medical and parental bullying."
"Children who were subjected to this so-called therapy suffer the same effects as children who were subjected to traditional bullying, including suicide, attempted suicide and low self esteem," he said.
Sims added, "It's been 40 years since the American Psychological Association excluded homosexuality from being classified as a mental disorder, and the APA has published studies showing that patients younger than 18 suffer from a multitude of harmful effects associated with this so-called therapy, including withdrawal and suicidal thoughts."
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