Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), an American legal organisation committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their families, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBT civil rights organisation, released sample legislation for state legislators and equality groups who want to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
This first-of-its-kind sample legislation draws from best practices in the jurisdictions that have passed successful laws, the more than 20 states that have introduced similar legislation, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act (a federal bill that takes a fraud-based approach to regulate conversion therapy), and the experience of legal experts working on this vitally important issue.
“This sample legislation is the culmination of two decades working to end conversion therapy, three years helping states take legislative steps to protect youth from these ineffective and harmful practices, and a truly exceptional coalition of legal experts from across the country. What has emerged from this extraordinary process is a bill that is both true to our shared values and legally airtight. Moving forward, we could not be more excited to work with state legislators and equality groups equipped with this powerful tool to end conversion therapy once and for all,” said NCLR #BornPerfect Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames.
“This important sample legislation comes at a critical time in our fight to protect our nation’s LGBTQ youth from the dangerous practice of conversion therapy,” added HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “A junk pseudoscience that amounts to nothing more than child abuse, this so-called therapy has been denounced by every mainstream medical and mental health association. We look forward to partnering with state legislators and key stakeholders in working to pass these vitally important measures to stop this horrific practice once and for all.”
The sample legislation comes just days after the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, issued a report calling for an end to conversion therapy and urging family acceptance of LGBTQ children.
NCLR and HRC are at the forefront of the fight to end conversion therapy, and work closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices, which are associated with extreme depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. Five jurisdictions—California, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Oregon, and Illinois—now protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy at the hands of licensed mental health professionals, with leaders from several other states planning introduction of similar legislation in the 2016 legislative session.
Last year, NCLR launched its #BornPerfect campaign to stop conversion therapy across the country by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.