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Congressional Democrats introduce bill for federal ban of conversion therapy

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., along with Senate Democrats Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act Monday, to ban conversion therapy at the federal level. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
1 of 3 | Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., along with Senate Democrats Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act Monday, to ban conversion therapy at the federal level. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

June 26 (UPI) -- Democratic lawmakers marked Pride Month with the introduction of a bill to ban conversion therapy at the federal level.

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act. The bill outlaws conversion therapy, a controversial practice used to alter a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, typically to conform to heterosexual cisgender norms.

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In a press release Monday, the lawmakers said conversion therapy is based on "bunk science" that has been considered by healthcare professionals to be a dangerous practice.

"Conversion therapy is a harmful sham that hurts LGBTQIA+ youth and turns a profit for scammers posing as mental health professionals," Lieu said in a statement. "Numerous major medical organizations have concluded that the practice has no validity and is based entirely on fake science. I'm pleased that many states have joined our movement and enacted conversion therapy bans. Now it's time to end this scam once and for all and pass a federal ban."

Versions of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act have been introduced by Lieu in the past, including in 2019 and 2021. As a state senator in California, Lieu authored a law that banned conversion therapy in the state in 2012.

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The bill has 62 additional co-sponsors in the House and 32 in the Senate.

"Conversion therapy is not just harmful and inhumane, but the practice has been rejected by countless reputable medical and mental health organizations," Booker said in a statement. "We must treat all people, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation, with compassion and allow them to express themselves without fear. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill that will ban this cruel and dangerous practice."

Several mental health professionals and psychologists were quoted in the press release announcing the bill. Their comments insisted that conversion therapy does not work and has the potential to cause psychological harm.

"Research has consistently demonstrated that conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people is not only exceptionally harmful, but also completely ineffective," Dr. Celeste M. Malone, president of the National Association of School Psychologists, said in a statement.

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