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Ontario bill barring therapy for teens with unwanted gay attractions passes second reading unopposed

‘We will not tolerate questionable practices that attempt to suppress people’s true identities,’ says the bill’s sponsor, New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo.
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By Steve Weatherbe

By Steve Weatherbe

TORONTO, April 8, 2o15 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A law that would bar teenagers from obtaining treatment for same-sex attractions passed second reading in the Ontario legislature last week—without a single voice of dissent.

“The same kind of neo-totalitarianism is going on in the U.S.,” commented Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. “But at least we had debate.”

Bill 77, The Affirming Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Act, 2015 passed second reading by a 52-0 margin, after a brief series of uncritically laudatory comments from all three parties, including Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, a lesbian, and Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott, the favourite to win the party’s leadership race.

Introduced by New Democratic Party MPP Cheri DiNovo, a minister of the United Church of Canada, the bill bans “any practice that seeks to change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient under 18 years of age, including efforts to change or direct the patient’s behaviour or gender expression.” It also removes coverage by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan for change therapy for adults. Declared DiNovo, “We will not tolerate questionable practices that attempt to suppress people’s true identities.”

The bill and its proponents in the provincial Parliament lumped together “aversion” therapy, a term generally associated with electroshock treatments used two generations ago on sometimes unwilling sexual offenders, with “change” therapy. This a form of cognitive psychotherapy that treats unwanted feelings through exploratory conversations between therapist and client intended to understand their childhood causes.

No parliamentarian dared raise the possibility, far from far-fetched, that teenagers or adults might want treatment for homosexual attraction or transgenderism.

Elliott told the legislature, “Suicide rates among LGBT individuals are frighteningly high. … The LBGTQ community has double the post-traumatic stress disorder risk; triple the suicide risk among youth.” She added, “Approximately 41% of people who are transgender or gender non-conforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives,” implying these rates were the result of stigmatization or even of aversion therapy itself.

“Those rates are high because these are bad ways to live,” LaBarbera told LifeSiteNews. “These politicians are doing young people a disservice by preventing them from getting help for unwelcome sexual feelings. And we know that they can be helped, because we have the testimony of many people who have escaped the homosexual lifestyle. But now their voices don’t count.”

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In the legislature, homosexual MPPs told personal stories, others told about nieces and nephews and American young people who had endured therapy but survived to live apparently happy same-sex lives. DiNovo dedicated the bill to an American teenage boy, Leelah Alcorn, who committed suicide on December 28 after rejecting conventional cognitive therapy.

“Her final words were ‘fix society please,’” DiNovo said, adding her bill was also dedicated “to all of those victims who've been electroshocked, shamed, suffered induced vomiting, induced paralysis,” and other methods that haven’t been used for decades.

Still, while seven members of the Tory caucus voted for the bill, 21 did not, either through absence or abstention. Nobody voted against it.

LaBarbera said that “the gay strategy all along has been to focus on the failures,” that is, those with same-sex attraction whose change therapy failed. At the same time, he said, homosexual activists argue that teenagers who develop same-sex attraction must be reinforced and never questioned in their feelings, “while heterosexuals receive no protection or support at all. If gays were as confident and secure in the sexuality, why are they so intolerant of any effort to change?”

The bill now goes to committee for technical changes before returning to the legislature for Third Reading.

Meanwhile, last month the state of Washington’s Senate passed a much milder bill that only banned electroshock and other “extreme” forms of aversion therapy, leaving cognitive therapy alone.


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