Oklahoma Republicans Advance Bill Allowing Abusive 'Gay Conversion Therapy'

Human Rights

Oklahoma Republican State Rep. Sally Kern is notorious for being one of the nation's most hateful anti-gay lawmakers; in 2011, she said that homosexuality is “more dangerous” than terrorism because it's more present in our day-to-day lives.

Sadly, Kern has successfully managed to win a number of her colleagues over to her views. Her bill that would allow the abusive practice of gay conversion therapy was successfully passed out of the Oklahoma House Children, Youth, and Family Services committee  along a 5-3 vote, ensuring that it will advance to the full House.

“All across the nation, bills are being introduced to ban parents from having the right to take their children for counseling if they are struggling with same-sex attractions,” Kern told the local press about her bill. “As you know, we do lots of bills that are pre-emptive, so this is pre-emptive to make sure that parental rights are upheld.”

One of the opponents of the bill is the LGBT rights group Freedom Oklahoma. Its executive director Troy Steevenson noted that the bill had been changed to prohibit therapy that causes physical pain. “When a legislator has to amend a bill because its previous version includes the carte blanche to inflict physical pain and electroshock therapy on children, you know we have a problem at the Capitol,” he said.

Gay rights organizations aren't the only ones speaking out against the legislation. “Specifically we’re concerned about child abuse in the name of reparative therapy,” said Mary Jo Kinzie of the Oklahoma branch of the National Association of Social Workers.  “NASW Oklahoma chapter emphasizes that those who support reparative and conversion therapy are telling our young people they are not good enough, that they should change to meet some kind of misguided norm.”

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