Mr. Brian Sims, the first openly gay Pennsylvania State Representative, looked into the television camera, as if a pair of eyes on the other side of it proposed a high-stakes staring contest, and delivered a message meant to soothe and reassure homosexual youth – particularly those whose parents might seek to cure them for what they perceive is a disorder – that they’re aren’t alone, they’re not diseased, and that they have a friend or two in the House and in City Hall, where a press conference on Thursday afternoon, attended by the liberal, gay friendly Mayor of Philadelphia, took place to announce a proposed legislation that would ban statewide conversion therapy for minors.
Philadelphia Mayor Mr. Jim Kenney, who appeared at several gay clubs while campaigning for the job in 2015, said pseudo-medical practices that are cruel and unusual have “no place in our great Commonwealth.”
Similar in tone was State Representative Mr. Jordan Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, who spoke sternly about the issue, equating conversion therapy to child abuse.
“This is abuse, and anyone who is subjecting their child to this, is subjecting their child to abuse… that’s how the Commonwealth should look at this practice,” Mr. Harris, newly educated on acts of conversation therapy, said.
The legislation, which was reintroduced this year, has to pass the House and be signed by the Governor to take effect, and if it does, it’ll be enforced exclusively among medical professionals. The consequences would likely be medical practitioners losing their licenses, Rep. Sims, who suspects there’s support in both Caucuses for the ban, told me.
And though places of worship – some whose version of conversion therapy is to pray the gay away and seek deliverance – would be exempt from the ban, the issue of faith and God did arise at the news conference on Thursday.
Rep. Harris said “God loves us all, period.”
Rep. Sims said:
“I’m lucky enough and blessed to live in a nation that says that I, and people like me, will not be treated any differently under the law because of anybody’s specific interpretation of their own faith. We have almost 200 years of jurisprudence about the delineation between medicine and between faith, and what that jurisprudence tells us is that a faith that would hurt a person is not the practice of faith in the United States, and I would agree.”
Mayor Kenney believes no religious background offers justification for conversion therapy, which many times require the one who’s made to convert being electrocuted, and said “anything that’s harmful to a person shouldn’t be practiced.”
“That’s not the way you treat your children,” the Mayor, who urged parents of LGBTQ minors to love, hug and remind their off-spring(s) that they’re valuable, stated.
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