Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) filed a resolution in the House earlier his week calling on Congress to denounce what is known as "reparative therapy," or the practice of helping homosexuals lose their desire for same-sex attractions.
Speier, who also revealed in 2011 during a passionate speech on the House floor that she had an abortion as a young woman and defended Planned Parenthood's right to provide the procedure, introduced what she is calling the "Stop Harming Our Kids" resolution.
"Let's get this straight," she said during a Wednesday press conference. "Being gay, lesbian [or] transgender is not a disease to be cured or a mental health issue to be treated."
The resolution was motivated in part by a recent law in California spearheaded by State Sen. Ted Lieu and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that prohibits reparative therapy for minors under the age of 18. The California Congresswoman maintains that therapies aimed at helping someone go from gay to straight are in her opinion, "discredited" and "ineffective."
Two people, who claimed they had undergone the therapy, calling it "quackery," joined Speier at her press conference. The two men, Sheldon Bruck and Jerry Spencer, are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a lawsuit filed in New Jersey. SPLC has also labeled pro-family groups who support pro-family positions such as the Family Research Council, a "hate" group.
The issue of reparative therapy surfaced during the Republican presidential primary after a person associated with a pro-gay organization secretly videotaped a counselor employed by Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) husband Marcus, who owns a Christian counseling center that practices reparative therapy.
National groups, such as Exodus International, define reparative therapy as "a holistic and specialized counseling approach that seeks to address unwanted same-sex attraction."
"Pro-gay groups and secular media incorrectly lump everyone advocating biblical sexuality, namely those who offer alternatives to homosexuality, into the reparative therapy category," Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, a Christian group that ministers to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality, told CP in July 2011.
However, Chambers and Exodus have recently distanced themselves from the practice of reparative therapy, saying it has set people up for "unrealistic expectations" if they believe the therapy would make same-sex attractions disappear.
Mathew Staver, who chairs the Liberty Counsel, which represents the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, responded to Speier's proposal by saying, "This law places the state between the client and the counselor."
The new California law that prohibits reparative therapy for minors under the age of 18 is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, but opponents are currently contesting it in court.