ALBANY - The state Senate’s only openly gay lawmaker wants to outlaw a controversial therapy that attempts to make gay youth straight.
Legislation introduced Friday by Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) would bar mental health providers from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.
If enacted, a licensed mental health provider who ignored the law would be cited for unprofessional conduct and subject to licensing sanctions.
Hoylman will co-sponsor the bill in the Senate with Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). It is being carried in the Assembly by Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who is a lesbian.
Conversion therapy has been rejected by many in the mental health community.
Hoylman, who is married to a man and has a two-year-old daughter, said the controversial treatment is not good for the individual or society.
“It not only is impossible, but it is detrimental to young people to attempt to convert them,” he said.
“It also increases the stigma in society and creates a culture of unacceptance for young gay and lesbian people,” Hoylman added.
California last year enacted a similar law barring the controversial therapy, but the measure is on hold while it’s being challenged in the courts.
The Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, doesn’t believe a New York law would pass legal or ethical muster.
“I simply believe that those in the homosexual community should recognize that there is a significant population in that community that want to leave that lifestyle and pursue a heterosexuality lifestyle,” McGuire said. “People should respect their choice to pursue that.”