Senate lawmakers are considering a bill to ban conversion therapy for minors. The controversial practice aims to convert people from being gay.
At a public hearing Tuesday, Sen. David Pierce of Lebanon told the Senate Health and Human Services Committee he strongly supports the ban - for personal reasons.
Pierce is gay and says when he was 13-years-old he wanted to take his own life. Pierce told the committee having counseling services provide this therapy to minors – implies that a young gay person needs to change.
“I want my children – my two daughters growing up without being told that they are sick or that they should not be who they are,” Pierce testified.
The bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Eric Schleien of Hudson, pointed to research during his testimony by the American Psychological Association in 2009 concluding that conversion therapies are "unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm."
But opponents argue a ban would take away parents’ rights to pursue such counseling if they believe it is the best for their child.
Last month House lawmakers passed the bill 229 to 99.
Currently four states already have similar laws on the books: Illinois, California, Oregon and New Jersey as well as D.C.