MONTPELIER, Vermont, May 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Vermont banned reparative therapy for minors suffering with same-sex attraction this week, making it the fifth U.S. state to prohibit the treatment.
“It’s law, team,” Governor Peter Shumlin told lawmakers in support of the bill on the statehouse steps Wednesday.
The new law prohibits the treatment, also known as “conversion therapy,” regardless of whether a young person’s same-sex attraction is unwanted and without regard for parents’ desires in the matter.
“Conversion therapy was pretty widely used when I was a little kid growing up in this country,” Shumlin said. “And as you know, the practice is not only archaic, but it’s wrong.”
Advocates for reparative therapy, specifically those who have experienced unwanted same-sex attraction and for whom it’s been successful, say the complaints against reparative therapy are false and misleading, and that outlawing it is unjust toward those who choose not to embrace their same-sex attraction.
LGBT advocates lauded the ban, calling reparative therapy for minors abusive.
“Conversion therapy to me is tantamount to child abuse,” stated Melissa Murray, of Outright Vermont. “And so conversion therapy makes queer and trans youth feel like their identity is mental illness.”
Xavier Persad, of the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said the new Vermont law was needed to educate people about the “harmful” practice of reparative therapy, stating, “Not everyone who exposes their children to these harmful practices comes from a malicious place, and that’s why we need bills like this to bring attention to the issue.”
Shumlin also used his government webpage to further disparage reparative therapy, saying, “It's absurd to think that being gay or transgender is something to be cured of.”
He cited a 2015 report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that “found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices.”
The Democrat went on to liken efforts to treat same-sex attraction with hatred and bigotry.
“At a time when the rights of LGBT individuals are under attack in other parts of the country,” Shumlin stated, “Vermont will continue to stand up to hatred and bigotry and show the rest of the country what tolerance, understanding, and common humanity look like.”
Vermont joins California, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon in states establishing bans on reparative therapy, along with Washington DC. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his state will forbid insurance companies from covering reparative therapy.
The law goes into effect July 1.