What Do Restrictions on “Conversion Therapy” Actually Say?

Washington State Capitol Building

State legislators around the country have increasingly moved to protect youth from a set of dangerous and widely discredited practices known as “conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” or “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCEs). SOCEs aim to eliminate or reduce same-sex attractions; the purpose, in effect, is to “treat” or “cure” homosexuality (and bisexuality), even though same-sex orientation is not an illness.

Media coverage of legislation restricting SOCEs typically has not delved into the specifics of the laws and proposals, likely because many reporters (not to mention many readers) don’t have the patience to weed through the often-dense language of legislation. But advocates for LGBT youth and other opponents of SOCE may benefit from learning more about the details than the mainstream press coverage makes possible.

This post serves a resource and reference to fill some of the gaps in the mainstream reporting. It sets out, in an accessible format, excerpts of the key language from laws in New Jersey and California (which have already approved SOCE restrictions) as well as from bills proposed in Maryland and Washington State. You’ll also find links to the full text of the legislation, along with a brief summary of each bill or law’s history. (A future post will discuss other states’ proposals.) At the end, I’ve posted links to commentary and resources from around the web. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

Nov. 18 Marks 10 Years Since the Demise of Section 28

UK Map with Flag

Today marks ten years since the repeal of Section 28.

Enacted by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1988, the British law prohibited schools from “teaching …. the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” It also barred schools from “intentionally promot[ing] homosexuality or publish[ing] material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.”

An effort to get rid of the noxious law gained strength in the early 2000s, and on November 18, 2003, a bill repealing Section 28 finally went into effect.

Anti-LGBT Radical Appointed to N.C. Task Force on Safer Schools

Drawing of North Carolina on School Chalkboard

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has appointed Buddy Collins, an outspoken opponent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, to serve on the state’s Task Force on Safer Schools. According to the press release announcing the appointment, the Task Force “will provide guidance to the Center for Safer Schools and consider future policy and legislative action that is needed to improve school safety in North Carolina.”

Collins, a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education as well as the North Carolina State Board of Education, has a troubling record of anti-LGBT statements and actions.

As I explored in an April 2013 post, for example, Collins voted as a local school board member to defy a state law mandating that local anti-bullying policies include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. (Fortunately, he was out-voted.)