Philadelphia Wants To Ban Conversion Therapy

Photographed By Alexandra Gavillet.
City and state elected officials in Philadelphia have come up with a bill that bans conversion therapy, CBS Philly reports. Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change someone's (usually a child's) sexual orientation, and State Representative Brian Sims thinks of it as “child abuse.”

Sims is the first openly gay elected representative in Pennsylvania, according to Philly Voice. He first introduced legislation along these lines in 2013 (House Bill 1811), later announcing in 2015 that he planned to reintroduce it. Sims, along with State Sen. Anthony Williams, are lead sponsors of this legislation in both the house and senate.

In January 2015, Williams introduced Senate Bill No. 45, which stops "mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age." The Philly Voice reports that this bill will be reintroduced as Senate Bill No. 44 "soon."

"For longer than I have been alive, the American Medical Association has declared that homosexuality is not a medical condition that needs to be cured," Sims says."There are people claiming to practice conversion therapy as some form of science or medicine and it is neither. We are seeing children abused all across the commonwealth because of conversion therapy."

The two also announced that the state is giving $1.5 million to expand the Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia's home for LGBT health and wellness.

While Sims and Williams say this bill wasn't sparked by any specific instances, conversion therapy has been in the news of late because of newly-Vice President Mike Pence, who has long been associated with support for the therapy, despite its alleged merits being widely debunked.
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