Pennsylvania officials propose ban on anti-gay ‘conversion therapy’ for minors

State Rep. Brian Sims.
Rep. Brian Sims will co-sponsor the bill. Credit: Metro

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims will hold a press conference tomorrow to detail legislation he plans to propose with state Rep. Gerald Mullery that would ban mental health providers from engaging in anti-gay “conversion therapy” for minors.

Conversion therapy is used to describe a range of treatments that claim to “reform” or “cure” individuals of their homosexuality and “restore” them to heterosexuals.

One local example would be conservative Catholic group Courage’s sports camp held this past May at the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.

The camp, whose presence drew protests from social justice nonprofit The Peace Advocacy Network, claims to help gay men repair their “sports wound” and become “manlier.”

Also on hand for tomorrow’s announcement will be state Sen. Anthony Williams, who together with several co-sponsors this spring brought forth similar legislation in the Senate prohibiting state-licensed medical professionals in Pennsylvania from “engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with a person under the age of 18.”

That bill is currently in a Senate committee.

“In 2009, the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation issued a report, concluding that sexual orientation change efforts can pose critical health risks to lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, including confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, self-blame, a loss of faith, high-risk sexual behaviors, among several other negative psychological effects,” Williams wrote in a memorandum issued in March.

He further noted methods used to “repair” homosexuality are based on developmental theories of “questionable” scientific validity and “pose a danger to the mental health of children.”

Tomorrow’s announcement comes nearly one month after Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a ban on conversion therapy in New Jersey and several weeks after an appeals court upheld California’s outlawing of the practice.

The news conference is slated for 2:30 p.m. at the Attic Youth Center, located at 255 S. 16th St.

Also scheduled to speak are Peace Advocacy Network campaign director Ed Coffin and Attic Youth Center counseling services coordinator Monique Walker.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Local

New York joins accord to strengthen popular vote…

New York State joined a nationwide effort that would gives the state's 29 electoral votes for president to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

National

Missouri man charged with sexually torturing five women

A Missouri man has been charged with raping and torturing five women in a St. Louis-area apartment over several years, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

NBA

Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.

NFL

Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…

NBA

Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.