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Majority of U.S. States Vote Down Bans on Conversion Therapy for Gay Youth

An article in the Christian Post clarified that, while two state legislatures have successfully banned conversion therapy for gay youth, a majority of states have struck down such bans, and some have even been withdrawn from consideration. California and New Jersey have implemented laws prohibiting therapists from engaging minors in sexual orientation change effort therapy (also called SOCE), but 13 other states—including Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Rhode Island—have defeated or stalled similar laws.

Christopher Doyle, president and co-founder of the ex-gay support organization Voice of the Voiceless, says these bills get defeated when formerly homosexual men and women testify to legislatures about their positive experience with SOCE. “Simply put, when ex-gays show up and tell the truth about SOCE therapy, how it helped them, and in some cases, saved their lives, legislators have listened,” wrote Doyle in a statement on the VOTV website. “Stated another way, gays cannot speak for ex-gays. This is what we have been trying to get across in our work.”

Washington D.C. is currently considering such a ban after a hearing on the matter convened last month. SOCE is sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy” and has been officially rejected by the American Psychiatric Association.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including ChurchLeaders.com and SermonCentral.com.