by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Washington Sen. Patty Murray and New Jersey's Sen. Cory Booker have reintroduced legislation to ban so-called 'conversion therapy.'
Murray is the ranking member on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the committee that would have jurisdiction over the bill. Washington's other senator, Maria Cantwell, has signed on to the measure as a co-sponsor.
The bill, titled the 'Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act,' classifies conversion therapy as a fraudulent practice and empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to stop the practice.
The measure states that providing conversion therapy to any person in exchange for monetary compensation, or advertising such services, is an unfair and deceptive act or practice. In addition, the bill would explicitly state that the FTC has the responsibility to enforce this provision and would provide state attorneys general the authority to enforce this provision in federal court.
'On this and so many other issues impacting the LGBTQ community, the Trump administration has laid out a hateful, damaging agenda to undo hard-won progress; divide our communities; and hurt our friends, neighbors, and family members just because of who they are or who they love,' Murray said in an April 25 statement.
'This is absolutely the wrong direction for our country - and I will continue to push for ways to make sure all people, regardless of who they are or who they love, are treated equally and with respect.'
'We need to ban 'conversion therapy' plain and simple. So-called 'conversion therapy' isn't therapy at all - it's a tortuous, fraudulent practice that has been repeatedly condemned by medical professionals and has no place in our country,' Booker added.
'By empowering the FTC to protect consumers from this kind of fraud, this bill will take an important step in ending this harmful practice for good.'
A statement from Murray's office noted that Republican Vice President Mike Pence endorsed the Republican Party platform plank approving conversion therapy. Murray and Booker decided to reintroduce the ban 'following anti-LGBTQ policies, [and] hires made by the Trump administration,' the statement added.
HRC thanked the senators for their bill.
'So-called 'conversion therapy' is nothing more than child abuse, and those who inflict it on others must be held accountable,' said HRC President Chad Griffin.
'HRC thanks Sens. Murray and Booker for their efforts to outlaw this dangerous and inhumane practice. Now more than ever, we must send a clear message to the LGBTQ community - and especially LGBTQ young people - that who you are is not something that needs to be fixed.'
In addition to Murray, Booker, and Cantwell, the legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.).
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