House Democrat Pushing for Federal Ban on All Gay Conversion Therapy

The U.S. Capitol dome and U.S. Senate in Washington.
The U.S. Capitol dome and U.S. Senate in Washington. | (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

A California congressman who authored his state's first in the nation ban on gay conversion therapy for minors has taken is fight to the federal level.

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, representative of California's 33rd District, introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act on Tuesday to the U.S. House.

In a statement released the day the bill was introduced, Congressman Lieu spoke about how three years previous he had authored California's law barring conversion therapy for gay youth.

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Credit : (Photo: Office of Sen. Lieu)
(Photo: Office of Sen. Lieu)

"Conversion therapy sessions and materials are incredibly expensive, costing families thousands of dollars and offering no results," said Lieu.

"It's a dangerous scam, and the government must act to protect LGBT Americans from fraudsters who take their money and lie to them."

While the state-level bans have only been for minors, Lieu's bill would apply to adults as well. If enacted, the TFPA would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act so that it labels commercial conversion therapy services as fraud.

While the bill is unlikely to pass in the Republican-dominated House, Lieu has the backing of Democratic leader and fellow Californian representative Nancy Pelosi.

"Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not an illness. By attempting to change one's identity, so-called 'conversion therapy' assaults the humanity of countless children and adults," said Pelosi in a statement.

"I'm proud to join Congressman Lieu as a cosponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to ensure that not one more person suffers through this abuse."

Also called Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Therapy or reparative therapy, over the past few years conversion therapy has become a target of state level legislative efforts.

While most state legislatures have rejected bans on practicing the therapy on minors, California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have passed them.

Oregon is poised to be the third state to do so, as both houses of their legislature have passed a bill and the governor is expected to sign it into law.

Proponents of SOCE therapy have denounced these efforts, arguing that legislators and LGBT activists are misrepresenting their profession and ignoring many success stories.

David Pruden, executive director of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, told The Christian Post last month that opponents are providing "misleading" descriptions of conversion therapy.

"We believe that the personal and intimate conversations that take place in the confidential setting of a licensed professional counselor's office cannot become an excuse for politicians or policy organizations to push their way into the private lives of individual Americans," said Pruden.

"Too often, as in this case, politicians exploit these opportunities so they can grandstand or promote their political objectives at the expense of the happiness and mental health of individuals who freely seek therapeutic assistance."

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