May 22, 2015 at 11:06 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
Booker, Brown introduce resolution against ‘ex-gay’ therapy
Cory Booker, ex-gay conversion therapy, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced a resolution against “ex-gay” conversion therapy. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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.).

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Unbelievable! The fact conversion therapy is still an acceptable form of child abuse in America is simply incomprehensible as well as reprehensible.

  • This is a hateful and oppressive resolution, rooted in these two Senators’ ignorance of what it means to experience same sex attraction. The proposal is based on the harmful and discredited “junk science” of “sexual orientation”, which came about in the 1990’s when politically motivated bogus studies (LeVay, Hamer, Bailey and Pillard) were trotted around claiming to have “discovered” that same sex attractions were caused by invisible, unprovable and untestable “orientations” and had to be accepted as monolithic and immutable. Every researcher who conducted any of those “orientation” studies has now come forward acknowledging that they actually did not prove the existence of such “orientations,” the human genome project has long been completed (no gay gene), and legions of identical twin studies have ruled out even the possibility of a “born gay” class of people – yet bigots like Booker and Brown continue to use this popular folk myth to stigmatize, belittle — and now criminalize anyone who responds to same sex attractions in ways that fail to conform to the popular dogma of a “GLBT” Identity. It will be the Salem witch trials all over again.

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