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
National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.