Gay Therapy Ban Proposed in New York

A ban on gay therapy in New York has been proposed in a bill introduced on Friday, modeled after the 2012 California law that first banned the service.

The bill seeks to ban licensed therapists from helping minors change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

"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 Sen. Deborah Glick, a New York Democrat who proposed the bill alongside fellow Democrat Sen. Michael Gianaris.

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Gay therapy remains a controversial issue, with gay rights supporters saying that it harms youths by telling them there is something wrong with who they are, and conservative family groups saying that it offers legitimate help to those hoping to change.

Glick told The Huffington Post 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.'"

The senator continued, "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."

When California passed its own law banning gay therapy back in September, a number of conservative groups sued the state, including Liberty Counsel on behalf of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

"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," Liberty Counsel said in a statement.

"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."

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