Dems call for ban on gay conversion therapy

Dems call for ban on gay conversion therapy
© Lauren Schneiderman

Democratic lawmakers are scrutinizing gay conversion therapy, calling for a nationwide ban.

The Federal Trade Commission should prohibit the practice, which “falsely promises to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayA bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Overnight Health Care: ObamaCare sign-ups surge in early days Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-Wash.) and several other Democrats wrote Wednesday in a letter to the agency.

"We urge the Federal Trade Commission to take all actions possible to stop the unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy,” the Democrats wrote.

Gay conversion therapy is prohibited in California, Oregon, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., but is practiced in other states, the Democrats noted, adding that the controversial practice is “widely discredited” by medical organizations.

"Perhaps most concerning are the effects of this harmful therapy on children and youth,” the Democrats wrote. "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children and youth are at increased risk of suicide, substance use disorder, and engaging in other high risk behaviors compared to their peers."

The lawmakers, including Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.) and Ted Lieu (Calif.), added that "conversion therapy provokes guilt, anxiety, and societal rejection that negatively impacts healthy development of children and youth.”