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White House Puts The Ball For Ban On Anti-Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ In Congress’s Court

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186056072Yesterday, the White House released an official statement about so-called ‘conversion therapy’ aimed at de-gaying LGBTQ youth: to paraphrase, that this kind of faux therapy sucks. Having people in power speak out against the harm that these treatments cause to young people is an important step, though it falls far short of what really needs to happen: a nationwide ban.

The statement from the office of the President was delivered in response to a request to address the subject created on We the People, the government’s petition site. Any petition meeting a threshold number of signatures (the bar is currently set at 100,000) is promised a review by White House staff and an official response. The original petition, which received more than 120,000 signatures, called attention to the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender girl who committed suicide last year after being subjected to conversion therapy by her mother. The petition specifically requested the passage of a “Leelah’s Law”: a blanket ban on harmful anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy (which would be any anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy).

The White House’s response highlights the pseudo-scientific garbage extremely dubious medical basis used to justify these treatments, and calls attention to the harm they do to minor children who are unwillingly subjected to them by their families. It cites the evidence that this type of treatment is about as ‘helpful’ as covering a healthy child with leeches. It points out the veritable alphabet soup of trustworthy organizations who decry the use of conversion therapy: the WHO, the APA, the AMA, the AAP. It mentions attempts to ban conversion therapy at the state level–successfully so, in California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. (According to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, it’s also a consumer fraud issue, because doctors who promise they can un-gay a person are lying.) And last but certainly not least, it points out that there’s not a whole hell of a lot the executive branch of government can do about the situation on its own:

While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by these states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support.

So there it is, U.S. Congress; the ball’s in your court. Please take some time to actually address an issue that is harming American children, please flex those legislative-branch muscles and get a law rolling. Passing Leelah’s Law is an act that wouldn’t just make a difference in thousands of lives, it could actually help save many of them too. So if you have time in between your 10,000th and 10,001st efforts at repealing Obamacare, see what you can manage to get done.

(Image: Tupungato / Getty)