Gay rights advocates have made significant progress in the fight to discredit and ultimately ban conversion therapy, a practice that claims to “cure” gay people. The mainstream medical community is united in its view that the therapy is both ineffective and potentially harmful. So far, California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., have passed laws banning licensed therapists from subjecting minors to such treatment.
Here comes the backlash.
Last week, Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern (R), who once claimed that homosexuality was “more dangerous” than terrorism, introduced the Freedom to Obtain Conversion Therapy Act, a bill that would ensure adults and children can undergo conversion therapy “without interference by the state.”
The bill, which was introduced along with more than a dozen other anti-gay proposals, appears to be the first in the country to protect conversion therapy — although the Texas Republican Party endorsed the therapy in its party platform last summer. The measure also stands out because mental health counselors in Oklahoma are free to offer conversion therapy now.
“[The bill] gives people the choice, parents the opportunity, to take their children for some counseling if they’re struggling with same-sex attraction,” Kern said, according to Oklahoma’s News Channel 4. She did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
But as state Rep. Emily Virgin (D) noted to HuffPost, “There’s nothing saying that this type of therapy is illegal in Oklahoma.”
Virgin, who opposes the bill, said, “I really don’t think it is the legislature’s place to come in and say we like this type of treatment when in so many instances, we’ve seen it’s very, very harmful to children.”
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SOURCE: The Huffington Post