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Richmond Times Dispatch: Bill would prohibit 'conversion therapy' Print

Created:  Monday, January 18, 2016 10:52PM


Del. Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington, is again promoting a bill to prohibit licensed health care professionals from conducting "conversion therapy" for minors in Virginia.

"Conversion therapy is based on the false assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or a sin," Hope said in a statement. "Well, it is not. There is no on/off switch to sexual orientation."

Hope added: "It is very clear that organized medicine maintains that sexual orientation is not changeable, that conversion therapies do irreparable harm, and that conversion therapies should not be practiced in the commonwealth of Virginia."

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, said the organization opposes legislation to prohibit what she called "gender confusion" counseling.

"Proponents of legislation prohibiting counseling for kids struggling with their sexual identity have to answer the question why they believe it is OK to allow a child to change their behavior or body to match their feelings but it is bigoted to consider helping someone change their behavior or feelings to match their body," said Cobb.

"Virginia law is clear that parents have a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care of their children, a right this legislation clearly violates. The proposal also likely violates the First Amendment protection of speech and inserts the government into the counselor-patient relationship."