(Washington, DC, May 19, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu’s introduction of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBTQ people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill this morning at a press conference attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, the Human Rights Campaign, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
If passed, the Therapeutic Fraud Act would be the first nation-wide law to protect LGBTQ people, no matter who they are or where they live, from being defrauded by false and too often deadly promises that they can change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames, who spoke at the bill’s introduction, said: “On this historic day, we are honored to stand beside Congressman Lieu, a longtime leader in the fight to end conversion therapy, as well as the courageous survivors who have been speaking out for years against practices that falsely claim to be able to change sexual orientation or gender identity. This visionary bill will not only ensure that no person can profit from peddling services based on blatantly fraudulent claims about sexual orientation or gender identity, it will save lives and send a clear message to every child in the country, no matter who they are or where they live, that they were born perfect.”
In 2012, Lieu, then a California legislator, championed the first state bill of its kind to protect LGBTQ young people from these ineffective and fraudulent practices, which are based on the false claim that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder and that it can be changed. Since then, New Jersey and Washington D.C. have passed similar laws. Earlier this month, Oregon lawmakers approved a similar bill, which Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign into law. Earlier this month, Congresswoman Jackie Speier reintroduced the Stop Harming Our Kids (SHOK) Resolution of 2015, calling on more states to take action to protect youth from conversion therapy.
Since launching #BornPerfect in 2014, NCLR has partnered with national and state equality groups across the country, including HRC, to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice In August of 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s ban which was signed into law by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. On May 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to upheld New Jersey’s ban which was signed into law by Republican Governor Chris Christie in August of 2013. NCLR attorneys have assisted in the defense of every state bill to date.
Learn more about #BornPerfect and the dangers of conversion therapy at www.NCLRights.org/BornPerfect.