July 30, 2014

Risser wants to ban gay conversion therapy

State lawmaker proposes legislation to ban sex-conversion therapy of minors.

State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) is introducing legislation that would prohibit licensed mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with anyone under the age of 18. The bill “would make it illegal for professional health care providers to try to convince youngsters that their sex orientation was in error.”

Risser says gay conversion therapy promotes stigmas and prejudice. Mental health care workers would be prohibited from attempting to persuade, council, or perform therapy on minors for the purposes of changing their sexual orientation.

Risser says similar bills have been proposed in Minnesota, Maine, and New York, and have passed in California and New Jersey.

“It’s really a scam,” he says, “and scientifically unproven that you can professionally through psychotherapy or any other way change a youngsters sexual orientation. And to try to do it can cause that person lifetime problems.”

Any mental health provider who performs such efforts would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

AUDIO: Risser says his proposal is a preventive measure. :19

This proposal would serve as a preventive measure. Risser says he hasn’t heard about this being wide-spread in Wisconsin, and he hopes to keep it that way.

Risser’s bill is currently being circulated for co-sponsorship.