WASHINGTON — The California congressman who authored the state law that outlawed the ugly and discredited practice known as “conversion therapy” — the goal is to convert gays and lesbians to heterosexual — hopes to replicate that success on the federal level.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, Senate Bill 928, last month, which would allow the Federal Trade Commission to classify “conversion therapy” and its practitioners as fraudulent.
FEDERAL BILL INTRODUCED
The bill was introduced April 25 and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
“The bill is very simple,” Lieu told The Washington Post. “It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”
Lieu’s 2012 California bill, S.B. 1172, outlawed conversion therapy on minors.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld California’s ban on “conversion therapy.”
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Dozens of major mental health, medical and LGBT rights groups have criticized “conversion therapy,” from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the National Association of Social Workers.
The American Psychological Association found that efforts to change sexual orientation harmed some people rather than helping them, leading to increased distress and depression, as well as negative self-image.
STATES BANNING ‘CONVERSION THERAPY’
Seven states and the District of Columbia have successfully passed legislation to ban or restrict conversion therapy in some way. California was the first to do so, banning the practice outright in 2012; others are New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont and, just this month, New Mexico. Although New York does not have an outright ban, the state effectively prohibits conversion therapy through administrative regulations, according to the Washington Post.