Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bill to Ban Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy on Minors Killed in Committee

HB 587, a bill that would prohibit persons licensed to provide counseling services to propose to engage or engage in conversion therapy with a person under 18 years of age, was retained in committee by the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee. 
A NH Senate companion bill SB 224, co-sponsored by our own Jeb Bradley,  passed the NH Senate by a vote of 15 yes to 8 no back in February.
After it passed the Senate, Senator Martha Fuller Clark stated“I applaud my Senate colleagues for taking this important step to eliminate this dangerous practice in New Hampshire. No child should be told that they are not equal, not worthy, or should somehow conform to be like everybody else. That is the antithesis of freedom and human dignity. All children should have the opportunity to grow up without being told that they should not be who they are. I commend my colleagues for their bipartisan passage of this bill to protect our children from the damaging effects of this practice."

Last year, similar bills overwhelmingly passed both the NH House and Senate, but it was killed in a committee of conference by two Republican House Reps who refused to discuss it.
It is important to note that of our three NH House Representatives at the time, Rep's Crawford and Wright were not present to vote, and Cordelli voted against the bill. The vote was 229 yes to 99 no.

The American Psychiatric Association “opposes any 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 a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.”
Conversion "therapy" has been called child abuse by some professional organizations as well as dramatically increasing the risk of depression and teen suicide.
According to a 2009 report of the American Psychological Association, the techniques therapists have used to try to change sexual orientation and gender identity include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images; providing electric shocks; having the individual snap an elastic band around the wrist when aroused by same-sex erotic images or thoughts; using shame to create aversion to same-sex attractions; orgasmic reconditioning; and satiation therapy. Other techniques include trying to make patients’ behavior more stereo typically feminine or masculine, teaching heterosexual dating skills, using hypnosis to try to redirect desires and arousal, and other techniques—all based on the scientifically discredited premise that being LGBT is a defect or disorder.
The bottom line is that while the bills passed easily last year only to be killed in a committee of conference without discussion, and then killed this year by a NH House committee and not allowing the full House to vote on it is disgraceful. It is the second time this session that the NH House has decided to govern on a sensitive issue by not allowing a vote. HB 478 ,which would prohibit discrimination based upon gender identity was tabled by a narrow 8 vote margin. Rep's Cordelli and Marsh voted in favor of tabling the bill. Rep. Crawford correctly voted against it.






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