Oregon governor bans conversion therapy for LGBT youth

James Patrick Carraghan

James Patrick Carraghan is an award-winning activist, writer, librarian and student at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He spends his free time gardening, hording books and flirting. You can follow him on tumblr at http://thelibrarynevercloses.tumblr.com/

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Governor Kate Brown signed legislation on Monday to prohibit ‘conversion therapy’ on LGBT youth in the state of Oregon.

‘Conversion therapy’ (also known as ‘reparative therapy’ and colloquially as ‘praying the gay away’) is the catch-all name for various controversial practices which claim to be able to change an LGBT person’s sexual orientation. Such therapy has been rejected by the American Psychological Association, which issued a statement highly critical of what it termed ‘so-called reparative therapy’ in 1997.

The Oregon legislation makes it illegal for social workers or any licensed mental health professional to practice ‘conversion therapy’ treatments on individuals under the age of 18. The ban does not, however, include religious groups.

Oregon is the third state to enact such a ban, following California and New Jersey. Washington, D.C. has also banned conversion therapy.

Brown, who is the first openly bisexual person to serve as a state governor in United States history, will hold a signing ceremony for the legislation on Thursday.

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