A group of more than two dozen Senate Democrats led by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) have become the latest to speak out against widely discredited conversion therapy for LGBT people.
The lawmakers introduced on Friday a resolution, S. Res. 184, that condemns the practice and calls for states to enact laws prohibiting its use on minors.
In a statement, Booker said conversion therapy for LGBT people is “damaging and harmful” for those who undergo the practice, especially if those people are children.
“This discredited practice has been rejected for years by countless medical and mental health organizations,” Booker said. “All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. This resolution seeks to unite members of the Senate around the idea that this shameful practice has no place in our society.”
The introduction of the resolution caps off a week in which actors at the both state and federal level have taken action against conversion therapy. On Monday, Oregon joined California, New Jersey and D.C. in banning the practice after bisexual Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed into law a prohibition on the practice for minors.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in the U.S. House known as the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which seeks to ban conversion therapy for LGBT people by classifying it as fraud. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has declined to endorse the bill, but said the administration does “welcome congressional action” against “ex-gay” therapy.
Much like the legislation introduced by Lieu, the Senate resolution has no Republican supporters. Each of the 26 supporters on record for the resolution are Democrats.
The practice of “ex-gay” conversation therapy is widely discredited and rejected by major medical and psychological institutions, including American Psychological Association, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Brown said in a statement therapy intended to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity is “not therapeutic and has no place in our society.”
“Experts agree that the practice is harmful, ineffective, and should not be used in health care facilities or counseling centers,” Brown said. “We must take steps to protect minors from the emotional trauma that conversion therapy can cause and stand in support of policies that are inclusive of the LGBT community.”
In addition to Booker and Brown, original co-sponsors of the resolution are Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).