- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

“Conversion” therapy is a form of consumer fraud that should be outlawed nationwide because “love doesn’t need a cure,” a California lawmaker said Tuesday.

The country is ready to ban this treatment outright, said U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu, a California Democrat who also passed the nation’s first law restricting the therapy for minors when he was a state legislator.

“We know that being gay or lesbian is not a medical condition that needs a cure. Love doesn’t need a cure, that’s what this bill is about,” he said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act would end professional conversion therapy by classifying it as fraud under federal law. That means people “cannot advertise it,” cannot say that it works, cannot promote it and cannot profit off it, Mr. Lieu said.

“It’s not just fraud, it’s dangerous fraud,” he added, referring to the painful testimonies of two gay men who told the news conference about how their parents rejected their homosexuality and insisted the men see conversion therapists in futile attempts to change their sexual desires.

“None of us will get back the time we lost” as a family, said Ryan Kendall, who took steps as a teen to revoke his parents’ custody of him to escape the therapy.

The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act is co-sponsored by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, but no Republicans have yet signed on.

Getting bipartisan support, however, won’t be hard, said Samantha Ames, coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Some lawmakers may not be able to accept same-sex marriage, but we believe they will “care about the lives of kids” and support this bill, said Ms. Ames.

Also, “fraud is fraud,” Ms. Ames said.

Christopher Doyle, a licensed professional counselor who supports sexual-orientation change efforts, called the Lieu bill an attempt to “shut down debate” and “shut down any client choice.”

When lawmakers hear all the evidence — as they have in many states — they vote down these bans, said Mr. Doyle, director of the International Healing Foundation and a leader of Equality and Justice for All, a civil rights group for former homosexuals.

A spokesman for the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity and the NARTH Institute — which represent the professional therapists whose practices are targeted by Mr. Lieu’s bill — could not be reached immediately, but they have decried efforts to take away people’s freedom of choice in therapy.

The alliance and its members reject claims that they treat people brought in against their will, or use any physical or abusive tactics, including long-discarded therapeutic techniques as holding, aversion or electric shocks.

According to Mr. Lieu’s office, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act will:

⦁ Provide congressional recognition that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) “cannot be and does not need to be ‘cured.’”

⦁ Establishes that it is in the best interests of the nation to protect LGBT Americans and their families from being defrauded by conversion therapists.

⦁ Classifies for-profit conversion therapy as fraud under the Federal Trade Commission Act.

⦁ Creates multiple avenues for enforcement, including civil actions against fraudulent therapists and federal action against false advertising.

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