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Testimony heard about conversion therapy as several Ky. lawmakers push to ban the practice

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 12:55 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers are heard testimony Tuesday about conversion therapy, a very controversial method to change a person’s sexual orientation.

Several lawmakers, both Republican and Democrat, are pushing for a law to ban the practice.

There was actually going to be a bill debated during the last legislative session, but the chairman of the administrative regulation committee felt it was better to start in an interim session when the legislature was not in session.

Senator Alice Forgy Kerr says one of her children is gay and this is very personal to her. She said many well-meaning people want to “pray the gay away” when her child tells them of their sexual orientation.

Kerr and Representative Lisa Willner spoke in favor of a bill to ban the practice. They say there has not been any solid evidence that it works and says, in some instances, it has shown to have dangerous and even deadly results.

Those in favor of this bill to ban the practice say it’s dangerous when more than 40 percent of the young people who are subjected to it at least attempt suicide.

The committee heard from Zach Minors who is opposed to the therapy and says he was subjected to it.

“I was depressed. Having near-daily anxiety attacks,” Minors said. “Eventually became suicidal.”

But those against the bill say it would eliminate a desired form of treatment.

“If passed this legislation will censor counseling for those with unwanted sexual attractions and gender disorientation,” said Daniel Mingo, who is against a ban.

One lawmaker also said there is no licensed therapist that she knows of using conversion therapy in Kentucky.

The Family Foundation is also against the bill, saying it will be a violation of the first amendment and is a prohibition of the exercise of practicing religion.

“This law, if enacted, will cast doubt upon the simple discussions on one’s faith in regards to sexuality, marriage, and gender,” said Colt Cuzick with The Family Foundation.

Proponents of the proposed bill say there are currently 50 conversion therapists in Kentucky with people paying tens of thousands of dollars for the services.

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