Democratic Party of Oregon Urges Ban on Anti-Gay ‘Reparative Therapy’ for Minors

Stonewall Democrats
The Democratic Party of Oregon has adopted a resolution banning so-called reparative therapy for minors. Photo by Jules Garza, PQ Monthly.
By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly

The Democratic Party of Oregon voted 12-1 to adopt a resolution in support of banning so-called reparative therapy for minors Sunday, Dec. 9 at its Platform and Resolutions Committee Meeting, the Stonewall Democrats report.

The resolution comes as California grapples with a ban recently passed by the state legislature that is being challenged on First Amendment grounds.

The New York Times explains:

A federal judge cleared the way on Tuesday for California’s new law banning gay “conversion therapies” for minors, one day after another federal judge, in a separate decision, called the ban an unconstitutional infringement on speech.

Because Monday’s ruling by Judge William B. Shubb, of Federal District Court in Sacramento, was applicable only to three plaintiffs in the suit before him — two practicing therapists and a former patient — it appeared the state’s ban would take effect on Jan. 1 as planned.

But the contradictory rulings, and the prospect of appeals from both sides of the issue, suggested that the law, the first of its kind, could be embroiled in the courts in the months ahead.

The resolution adopted by the DPO draws on position statements by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American School Counselor’s Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Psychoanalytic Association in opposition to therapeutic practices which seek to change the sexual orientation of minors.

From the American Psychiatric Association:

Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or ‘repair’ homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable…Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment such as reparative or conversion therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation.

After laying out all the statements in opposition, the resolution states (emphasis added):

WHEREAS the State of Oregon has a compelling interest to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts; AND

WHEREAS the State of California enacted Senate Bill 1172 into law in 2012 providing that “no mental health provider shall provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT: The Democratic Party of Oregon urges the State of Oregon to enact a law similar to the California law prohibiting the use of “reparative” or Sexual Orientation Change Effort (SOCE)  therapy on minors.

Read the full resolution here, and let us know what you think in the comments.