The Obama administration is calling for a ban on so-called “conversion” therapies that promise to “cure” gay and transgender people. Wisconsin Family Action President Jullaine Appling called that “disappointing” and said it sends a “very wrong and very dangerous message.”
The White House statement, issued by President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, condemned “conversion” therapy, also known as “reparative” therapy, which Jarrett defined as any treatment aimed at changing a person’s sexual identity.
“The story of people who have truly left the homosexual lifestyle is just being denied,” said Appling. “I wouldn’t call it therapy, I would call it counseling. And I know there are people in various parts of the state who work with folks who have unwanted sexual orientation and same-sex attraction.”
The statement was issued in response to a White House petition signed by more than 120,000 people after the death of a transgender teen from Ohio whose suicide note indicated she’d been subjected to such therapies.
“I don’t think it’s coincidental that it came out on the heels of all that we’ve been experiencing in various parts of the country related to these religious freedom restoration acts. I think this is part of the message they want to get out there: ‘you don’t get to touch the area of sexual orientation,'” Appling said.
Fair Wisconsin Interim Executive Director Megin McDonell was unavailable to comment on the White House statement. The Milwaukee based Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools did not return a request for comment.
California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have all banned licensed professionals from using conversion therapy on minors. Since last year, lawmakers in 18 other states have introduced similar legislation.
“Thus far we don’t have any law pertaining to it, and quite frankly I hope we don’t ever have a law that says that’s not permitted in our state,” Appling said.