Massachusetts House Set To Vote on Conversion Therapy Ban Wednesday

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The Massachusetts House of Representatives expects to vote on a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors on Wednesday.

The House bill would threaten therapists with losing their license if they try techniques designed to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of children 17 and younger.

Supporters of the ban say conversion therapy doesn’t work and shouldn’t be tried, because there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality and transgenderism.

Opponents, including the Massachusetts Family Institute, which advocates for Judeo-Christian moral principles on Beacon Hill, say conversion therapy has succeeded in some cases, and that parents and children ought to be allowed to pursue conversion therapy if they want it.

The Massachusetts Family Institute released a radio ad Tuesday highlighting the story of a mother who had to fight in court last year to keep custody of her teen-age daughter who didn’t want permanent gender-transitioning therapy for her after she was diagnosed as transgender.

“Our radio ad seeks to educate the public about what’s really in this legislation, as even some legislators don’t understand that the focus is on eliminating any counseling options that don’t affirm a LGBT-centric view of human sexuality,” said Andrew Beckwith, president of Massachusetts Family Institute, in a written statement. “Counselors should be free to act in the best interest of a child, and parents should be free to choose a wait-and-see approach if a minor child wants gender reassignment surgery.”

The chief sponsor of H. 140, state Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton), has been stumping for the bill on Twitter:

The House bill was the subject of an intense hearing in the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, March 5 that drew 45 speakers over the course of almost three hours.

The Massachusetts Senate has a version of the proposed ban (S. 70) that includes a provision that defines seeking conversion therapy as child abuse, and requires mandated reporters such as teachers, nurses, and doctors to report cases of conversion therapy to the state’s social-services agency.

The state Senate is not expected to take up the bill this week.