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Congressman introduces bill to ban so-called LGBT conversion “therapy” nationally

Conversion therapy cases

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill
Buzzfeed got the exclusive:

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday morning, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California will introduce a federal bill to ban commercial efforts to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity — often called conversion therapy.

“The public views conversion therapy as quackery, as something that harms people,” Lieu told BuzzFeed News on Monday afternoon, just after landing back in D.C. from California. “Eventually, I believe Congress will catch up to that, but you do need to start somewhere, so that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.”

He faces an uphill battle: The legislation, which would label conversion therapy an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” that would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act, is being introduced with less than three dozen co-sponsors — all of whom are Democrats.

At today’s press conference, Rep. Ted Lieu, who introduced the measure, provided more details:

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said during a news conference he introduced the measure, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, because medical and psychological experts say conversion therapy is only not ineffective, but also potentially harms individuals who go through it.

“We know that being gay or lesbian is not a medical condition that needs a cure,” Lieu said. “Love doesn’t need a cure. That’s what the bill is about.”

Under the legislation, conversion therapy would be classified as fraud under the Federal Trade Commission Act. If the legislation were signed into law, the Federal Trade Commission could enforce the bill at its discretion and private citizens could bring lawsuits against individuals practicing “ex-gay” therapy.

“What the bill will do is outlaw conversion therapy by saying that you cannot advertise that you’re doing conversion therapy, you cannot say that it works, you cannot promote it and you cannot profit off of it,” Lieu said.

The Obama administration has recently signaled support for banning the practice, but according to the Blade, they haven’t commented on this particular bill.


  • 1. Rik_SD  |  May 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Happy to see one introduced, but the low level of support is sickening. Not surprising that it's only democrats supporting though.

  • 2. Zack12  |  May 19, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    As long as Republicans have to cater to the Religious Reich, they will NEVER support us.

  • 3. seannynj  |  May 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Wow. Lieu couldn't even get Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to sign on? She's stuck her neck out even further for us with her support for marriage equality already. This should be easy as pie for her to sign on to.

  • 4. weaverbear  |  May 19, 2015 at 11:52 am


    Homosexuality was removed from the DSM-II in 1974, some 41 years ago. It's bloody well about time they stopped trying to cure something that's a normal variant and not an illness.

  • 5. SethInMaryland  |  May 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Ireland could make history in a few days, it's going to cause momentum to generate in Australia and Northern Ireland if this goes through

  • 6. scream4ever  |  May 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Also in Germany and Switzerland as well, the latter of which has begun its own process for a referendum.

  • 7. JayJonson  |  May 19, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    In other news, a committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives, on a vote of 10-2, effectively killed Governor Bobby Jindal's hateful license to discriminate.

    In response, Jindal says that he will issue an executive order to accomplish the same end. Of course, when President Obama issued his executive order to halt some immigration deportations, Jindal said that was overreach: "If the President wants to make the case that the law should be changed, he should go make the case to Congress and our people. This is an arrogant, cynical political move by the President, and it’s why so many Americans no longer trust this President to solve the problems we face." Well, no one ever trusted Jindal not to be a hypocrite or to solve any problem.

  • 8. VIRick  |  May 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    In other words, Jindal is prepared to flush what remains of Louisiana's economy right down the toilet in order to get his way, despite the fact that his own legislature just told him, "No, we're not going there."

    I say "what remains of" because he's already destroyed Louisiana's education system with his idiotic cuts in spending,– and this despite the fact that Louisiana already had one of the worst education systems in the USA. All the state universities in Louisiana are about ready to shut down for lack of funding.

  • 9. Jaesun100  |  May 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Wow ! That was fast !
    "Defiant Jindal issues executive order after Louisiana House panel Kills bill. "

  • 10. Sagesse  |  May 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    This is one of the polls that asks the same questions, consistently, each year, so that the trend can be compared.

    Record-High 60% of Americans Support Same-Sex Marriage [Gallup]

  • 11. VincentLubeck  |  May 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    On a positive note, yesterday the governor of Oregon signed a bill that prohibits "conversion therapy" for LGBT youth. The law applies only to state-licensed mental health professionals, not to religious organizations.

    Does this issue remind anyone else of the movie Latter Days, which portrays some aversion "therapy"?

  • 12. VIRick  |  May 19, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Anti-LGBT Pastor Resigns after Grindr Photos, Hook-up Conversations Exposed

    MIDLAND, MI — An anti-gay pastor in Michigan has resigned following revelations that he regularly solicited men on the popular gay hookup app, Grindr. Rev. Matthew Makela, a married father of five, resigned as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School in Midland MI, on 17 May 2015, just one day before Queerty posted screenshots and text messages of sexually explicit conversations between the pastor and other men.

    Queerty reports that Makela, who had been at St. John’s since 2010, confirmed himself as a Grindr user, and notes that Makela has a record of disparaging the LGBTQ community, posting (now deleted) screenshots of the reverend decrying same-sex marriage and stating that the “transgender movement is going to assist opportunistic sickos in preying upon children and others.”

    For a Lutheran pastor, his Grindr pics look hot. See them here:

  • 13. RemC_Chicago  |  May 21, 2015 at 6:09 pm


    Oh, Rick, honey.
    Come sit by me
    and I'll explain
    what is hot
    what is most

  • 14. VIRick  |  May 21, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Rem, you're too kind. Of course, I'll sit my you and be instructed.

    However, I did throw in the caveat, "for a Lutheran pastor," didn't I?

  • 15. RemC_Chicago  |  May 22, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Not buying it, kiddo. Nuh-uh.

  • 16. SethInMaryland  |  May 20, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    hoping for the best in Ireland , I'm not going to make predictions because I don't want to jinx things , however if this passes it be such a great moment , thinking about entire country voting to legalize marriage equality by popular vote is so sweet

  • 17. VIRick  |  May 20, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Biker-Brawl Suspects Only Slightly Outnumber Republican Candidates

    WACO – Suspects in the recent biker brawl in Waco, Texas, only slightly outnumber the 2016 Republican Presidential candidates, leading some voters to have difficulty distinguishing between the two groups, a new poll shows. According to the poll, voters who were presented the names of a biker-brawl suspect and a Republican Presidential candidate correctly identified both only thirty per cent of the time.

    For example, fifty-seven per cent of voters erroneously identified the former Texas Governor Rick Perry as a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang, while forty-one per cent believed he belonged to the Cossacks. Adding to voters’ confusion, the biker brawlers and G.O.P. candidates have identical views on a host of issues, such as gun rights and whether they would feel comfortable attending a gay wedding.

    While the number of biker-brawl suspects stands at a hundred and seventy, if current trends continue, the Republican field could blow past that number by early summer, possibly deepening voters’ confusion. But, in one positive sign for the Republicans, they notched a higher approval rating than the Waco suspects, five per cent to three.

  • 18. judeelliot  |  May 21, 2015 at 4:54 am

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  • 19. wes228  |  May 21, 2015 at 6:26 am

    The Irish marriage equality referendum is tomorrow!! Does anyone know what time polls close and what time we can expect a result to be announced?

  • 20. pshtar  |  May 21, 2015 at 6:32 am

    The polls close at 10:00 PM Irish Standard Time, which is 5:00 PM Eastern. Ireland does hand-counting of ballots, so the official result won't be known until sometime Saturday.

  • 21. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Joe MyGod says this: "Polls open at 7AM tomorrow (that's 2AM in New York City) and close at 10PM local time. Ireland does not have electronic voting so the result will likely not be known until midday Saturday. "

  • 22. RemC_Chicago  |  May 21, 2015 at 7:49 am

    RE Ireland's vote tomorrow. This is from The Guardian:

    "Meanwhile, the pro-gay marriage campaign groups are claiming that a late surge in voter registration will boost the Yes cause. It has emerged that over the past weeks of the campaign more than 68,000 new voters have been added to the electoral register."

    Hope that's a sign of hope!

  • 23. 1grod  |  May 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Today, Texas State Rep. Cecil Bell may attempt to piggyback his “Defy the Supreme Court” bill HB4105 onto another bill being voted on the House floor, SB2065 – the “Clergy Protection Act”.
    Bell's bill has over 90 co-sponsors. "Adding an amendment that instructs the state of Texas to ignore or defy a ruling by the United States Supreme Court is mean-spirited, misguided, will cost Texas taxpayers millions of dollars in litigation costs, and is ultimately doomed to failure" says Equality Texas.

  • 24. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    "Clergy Protection", my ass. They're the least ones to need any protection. The clergy have been one of the most coddled and exempt from any law, standards, accountability of any group ever,…… since…… well, maybe Congress.

  • 25. VIRick  |  May 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Exactly. So-called "clergy protection" is a phony, bogus, recently-invented "non-issue" issue, conjured up to play to the hard-core right-wing, low information, evangelical base, and to "prove" the ass-hat credentials of the ass-hat legislators that they're "doing something."

    In the meantime, did you see the report I posted of the anti-LGBT clergy-clown, married, father of five, from Michigan, who was advertising himself on Grindr as a "top?"

  • 26. scream4ever  |  May 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    It appears SB 2065 went unamended!!!

  • 27. Fortguy  |  May 21, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Yes, SB 2065 passed without amendments. Weirdly, Equality Texas reversed course and chose to back the bill. My guess is that they were so terrified of even more hateful amendments being piled on that they figured they'd just count their blessings that this was the worst the Lege would likely serve up this session. The bill passed 141-2 with Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) and Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) dissenting. Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), the lone vote against the bill in committee, voted in favor on the floor. Even weirder, voting in favor were the House's only two LGBT members, Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint) and Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin).

    Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune: House Passes Bill on Pastors' Rights to Refuse Gay Marriages

  • 28. 1grod  |  May 21, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Yes Rick, both there and here, I'm at a loss to frame a reply. G

  • 29. EricKoszyk  |  May 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Director of Boy Scouts states that the ban on gay adult leaders is not sustainable, will no longer revoke charters of local groups that accept gay leaders. Not a complete reversal of their policy but still progress nonetheless.

  • 30. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Public shaming and loss of $$ works every time. Well, maybe not shaming in TX, but among most of us it does.

  • 31. RnL2008  |  May 21, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Hi Eric,
    You want to know why Girl Scouts is still thriving? It's because they look at what is happening to the Boys Scouts and do it differently.

  • 32. A_Jayne  |  May 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    The Girl Scouts have been inclusive for years. They didn't wait to look at what might happen to the Boy Scouts; they opened their arms to all girls long ago.

  • 33. RnL2008  |  May 21, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Yes, they did……when our grandchild wanted to join the Girl Scouts the first time, we said no and left it at that……when they came and asked again a year later, we did some research, made some calls and became Leaders……today, we have a Junior troop working on their Bronze Award Project and then we will bridge to Cadettes in October. We currently have 10 girls between the ages of 9/10 through 12/13…….and we've watched the girls grow from 1st grade all the way through to 6th grade for 4 of our girls……they are such dolls…….and sometimes we'd love to break their little hands……lol, j/k

  • 34. scream4ever  |  May 21, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I expect a formal vote to repeal the ban on adult leaders soon though, like in a year or two.

  • 35. RnL2008  |  May 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    You're probably right….all the Evangelistic Fundamentalist left Boy Scouts to form another youth group called Trail Life USA, which was formed in July 2013. They are a Christian organization per say that were unhappy when Boy Scouts changed it's policy on Gay Scouts.

  • 36. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Let's not get too excited. Gates's proposal is that the issue be left to individual regions and councils and maybe even individual dens and packs. Inasmuch as over 70% of the packs are sponsored by churches (including a disproportionate number sponsored by LDS churches), it is unlikely that the repeal of the ban on adult leaders will effect many of the individual packs. It will be helpful to the councils and regions that are already in open defiance of the national ban–i.e., they will not have to worry about having their charter revoked if they appoint an openly gay scout leader or hire an openly gay employee. But the current national policy is basically don't ask, don't tell; and if the decision reverts to the local level, many of the local levels may embark on more active witch hunts. In any case, this is mainly a PR move by Gates. I think the BSA has already spoiled their brand.

  • 37. scream4ever  |  May 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    It'll still be a step forward nonetheless.

    I actually believe the Mormon Church supports lifting the ban.

  • 38. Randolph_Finder  |  May 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I think they just don't think it is going to affect them much.

  • 39. Randolph_Finder  |  May 21, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Put quite simply, the LDS aren't worried about the influence of Gay leaders on their scouting program in the large majority of their troops. Local leadership for the troops is always from within the Church unit and the callings to those leadership positions almost certainly aren't going to go to the *very* occasional out celibate gay person in the Church unit.

    In many councils there has often been an LDS specific week at scout camp for many years (with the program setup so that the units arrive on Monday morning so they are at home on Sunday, so interaction with the leadership of non-LDS troops is not as likely.

  • 40. Mike_Baltimore  |  May 21, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I agree that the BSA has already spoiled their brand – you can be gay and a scout until you are 18, but you can't be gay and an adult leader, even if you were a scout (and known to be gay) previously? Consistency?

    But I digress – most people forget that the original discussion and understanding of the military DADT at the beginning also had a third leg – Don't Pursue. The third leg got forgotten about within the first 12 months after the policy went into effect.

    Don't Pursue – the name basically says it all, but for those not familiar, basically it meant the military higher ups were NOT to pursue in any form any rumor they received.

    This might help explain why initially there were many who supported the DADT policy, many who later didn't support the policy at all.

    So yes, the BSA has followed the script of DADT as it was eventually enforced by the military, and also spoiled their brand, all at the same time.

  • 41. VIRick  |  May 21, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    "…. had a third leg – Don't Pursue."

    Mike, I'm so glad you explained that, as my mind must be totally warped, given that I see "third leg" and "pursue" in the same sentence, and concluded something else completely different, perhaps referring back to my history of "pursuing the third leg." Or whatever.

  • 42. Eric  |  May 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Troop racial integration was also left up to the sponsoring organization for quite a while.

  • 43. montezuma58  |  May 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    New injunction from Granade says her previous ruling applies to all Alabama probate judges and prevails over the AL Supreme Court's ruling. However she put it on hold until the Obergefel
    ruling is released.

  • 44. tornado163  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    It's a shame she stayed her decision, but at least she got to give the middle finger to the Alabama Supreme Court.

    "It is true that if this Court grants the preliminary injunction the probate judges will be faced with complying with either Alabama’s marriage laws that prohibit same-sex marriage as they have been directed by the Alabama Supreme Court or with complying with the United States Constitution as directed by this Court. However, the choice should be simple. Under the Supremacy Clause, the laws of the United States are “the supreme Law of the Land".”

  • 45. sfbob  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    A couple of points:

    1. I can see why she'd stay her ruling pending the outcome of Obergefell. Doing this will undermine any attempts on the part of the state or of the probate judges to try to do yet another end-run around her decision. The state or the judges could appeal her ruling of course but her stay provides a clear understanding that it would be a waste of time for them to bother since absolutely no further action is going to happen until the end of June, or whenever the SCOTUS decision is issued.

    2. She did note that while her decision is stayed, nothing prevents the probate judges from complying with her ruling immediately. Her decision would immunize them from any adverse action against them on the part of the state. On the other hand the state is, I suspect, likely to refuse to recognize any new marriages AT LEAST until SCOTUS rules (and possibly, given the state's past record, for a good period of time afterwards).

  • 46. flyerguy77  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    OOPS I accidentally pressed thumb down… I agree with you

  • 47. montezuma58  |  May 21, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Real easy to do on a touch screen device. It would be nice to have a way to correct fat finger votes.

  • 48. sfbob  |  May 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    No offense taken. I've done it myself more often than I want to admit to.

  • 49. scream4ever  |  May 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    I thought the state was already recognizing them since the AG was a named defendant?

  • 50. sfbob  |  May 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I believe the state is recognizing marriages that were already solemnized and recorded. But as far as I know there are no new marriages taking place and the state…well I were the state and were as obstinate as the state seems to want to be, I'd probably claim that if any marriages took place as a result of voluntary compliance with the current stayed injunction I'd probably stamp my feet and insist that those marriages were somehow suspect. And we all know that even after Loving vs Virginia was decided, it took another three years and another lawsuit to force Alabama to finally and fully stop enforcing its anti-miscegenation laws.

  • 51. sfbob  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Here is Judge Granade's ruling:

  • 52. sfbob  |  May 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Sorry for the multiple replies.

    A word of warning to the state of Texas is included as a cite in Judge Granade's ruling (top of page 11):

    "…[A] court may not hold a civil defendant liable under state law for conduct federal law requires….And, as we have long recognized, if an individual claims federal law immunizes him from state regulation, the court may issue an injunction upon finding the state regulatory actions preempted."

    The first sentence is a quote is from a 2013 decision, but the second sentence is a quote from ex parte Young which was issued in 1908.

    So in case anyone is worried about the fate of Texas State Rep Bell's proposed law, worry no more. There is already ample precedent for shutting it down.

  • 53. VIRick  |  May 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Booker, Brown Introduce Senate Resolution against ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy

    A group of 26 Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), have become the latest to speak out against widely discredited conversion therapy for LGBT people. On Friday, 21 May 2015, the lawmakers introduced a resolution, S. Res. 184, that condemns the practice and calls for states to enact laws prohibiting its use on minors.

    In a statement, Booker said conversion therapy for LGBT people is “damaging and harmful” for those who undergo the practice, especially if those people are children. “This discredited practice has been rejected for years by countless medical and mental health organizations,” Booker said. “All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. This resolution seeks to unite members of the Senate around the idea that this shameful practice has no place in our society.”

    The introduction of the resolution caps off a week in which actors at the both state and federal level have taken action against conversion therapy. On Monday, 18 May 2015, Oregon joined California, New Jersey and D.C. in banning the practice after bisexual Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed into law a prohibition on the practice for minors.

    In addition to Booker and Brown, original co-sponsors of the resolution are Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Patty Murray (D-Wash), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).

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