Monday, April 29, 2013

Around The Nation

New York
Bill Introduced In New York Against Reparative Therapy Or Gay Conversion Therapy
ALBANY, NY -- A pair of New York City state lawmakers introduced a bill Friday that seeks to ban reparative therapy more commonly referred to as "Gay Conversion Therapy." The measure is modeled after a new California law that bans licensed therapists from using the practice on minors. 
"There are often challenges to any manner of legislation that is protecting of the LGBT community and you can't sit on your hands and wait until things get resolved somewhere else," said Democratic State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, who cosponsored the bill along with fellow New York City Democrat Senator Brad Hoylman. Glick, became the first openly Lesbian lawmaker in New York in 1990, while Hoylman is the state senate's only openly gay member.
Conversion therapy has been a source of intense controversy as American medical and scientific organizations have expressed concern over conversion therapy and consider it potentially harmful. Mainstream health organizations critical of conversion therapy include the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned "psychiatric treatment, such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation."
The highest-profile contemporary advocates of conversion therapy tend to be fundamentalist Christian groups and other right-wing religious organizations. The main organization advocating secular forms of conversion therapy is the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which often partners with religious groups.
Glick noted that that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths make up 40 percent of the homeless population in America, and they are often kicked out of their homes by parents who want them to change their orientation.
"You start to hear the same stories over and over again," Glick said. "'They tried to make me straight and they took me to ...,' or, 'I couldn't become – and so they threw me out,' " Glick said adding;
"The rate of suicide, the level of depression, the kind of bullying in school that is focused on homophobic epithets, even when students clearly are not gay. So there's clearly an issue about being more supportive toward gay youth. And then you have folks who have made a business out of this alleged ability to make gay people straight." 
The California measure is currently on hold as federal courts weigh in on its constitutionally after two separate lawsuits were filed contesting the law. Liberty Counsel, who is challenging the law on behalf of NARTH, issued a statement that said;
"The California governor and legislature are putting their own preconceived notions and political ideology ahead of children and their rights to get access to counseling that meets their needs. 
This law undermines parental rights. Mental health decisions should be left to the patient, the parents, and the counselors – not to the government to license one viewpoint."
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative legal group that brought another of the federal lawsuits challenging California's legislation, described the law as "draconian and closed-minded."
New York City based psychiatrist Dr. Jack Drescher, one of the nation's leading experts on sexual orientation and gender identity expressed another viewpoint;
"If you really want to educate the public about the risks of these treatments, the fact that there are states that have outlawed these treatments should be a chilling fact," he said.