US: Bill to ban ‘ex-gay’ therapy to be introduced in New York

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Two Democratic Senators in the US state of New York have announced plans to introduce legislation to outlaw the practice of controversial “gay conversion therapy”.

Senators Michael Gianaris and Deborah Glick are to introduce the bill, which would ban using the controversial practice to attempt to “cure” minors, reports the Huffington Post.

All mainstream medical professional organisations have denounced the practice, over the past several years, and it has caused political rifts, with currently ongoing proceedings to ban, and challenge bans on the practice.

A case is currently ongoing in the state of California, following the suspension of a law which was brought in to protect children and teens from the practice.

“There are often challenges to any manner of legislation that is protecting of the LGBT community and you can’t sit on your hands and wait until things get resolved somewhere else,” said Glick, the first openly gay legislator in New York, who took office in 1990.

Opponents to such measures claim that it goes against free speech, is unconstitutional, and infringes on parents’ rights for their children.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals last week began to hear arguments around California’s law prohibiting “gay cure” therapy, as administered by mental health professionals.

The court decided on 21 December to block the law that was to take effect on 1 January 2013. On 3 January, California Governor Jerry Brown appealed the injunction that has so far prevented the enforcement of the new law.

Last September, campaigners and medical professionals welcomed California Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to ban teenagers from accessing discredited treatments that seek to reject an LGBT identity.

Governor Brown said in a statement that gay “conversion therapy” had “no basis in science or medicine,” and that it would be “relegated to the dustbin of quackery”.

The New Jersey Senate Health Committee recently passed similar legislation banning the practice of gay conversion therapy.

The Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, since officially announced his opposition to the therapy, after previously saying he had been undecided on the issue.