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Bisexual Oregon Governor Kate Brown Bans 'Ex-Gay' Conversion Therapy

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It is now illegal for Oregon’s state-licensed mental health professionals to provide “corrective therapies” meant to “cure” people of their same sex attractions. House Bill 2307, the new law banning the widely discredited practice conversion therapy, was swiftly passed through the Oregon House in March and the Senate in early May with a vote of 21-3.

Oregon governor Kate Brown, who is openly bisexual, signed House Bill 2307 into law earlier this week, creating protections for the state’s queer youth. Going forward, “therapists” working with active medical licenses issued from within the state will be barred from subjecting teenagers younger than 18 to ex-gay treatments. Brown’s passing the bill makes Oregon the third state in the country to outlaw conversion therapy, joining California and New Jersey, in addition to the District of Columbia.

"Conversion therapy at its core, I believe, is an act of violence," said Democratic Oregon state senator Sara Gelser. "Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a mental disorder, and it is not something that should be cured."

The specific language of HB 2307 provides people with protection from a wide variety of different forms of conversion therapy including attempts to challenge a transgender person’s self-asserted identity and attempts to “change behaviors or expressions of self or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”

“We are very pleased that Oregon has banned the use of conversion therapy on minors and thank Gov. Brown and the Oregon Legislature for taking this important step,” said GLSEN executive director Dr. Eliza Byard. “We hope Oregon will prove to be just the first of many states to ban this harmful and discredited practice that uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.”


Portland Man Arrested For Trying To Steal Local Gay Bar's Pride Flag

Svobodapng-79869cb4bb321451Over the weekend Portland police found Daniel Svoboda attempting to scale the face of a local gay bar in broad daylight, apparently attempting to steal the establishment’s gay pride flag.

Authorities discovered Svoboda 14 feet in the air, clinging to the drainage pipe attached to Silverado, which is located in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood.

According to the officers that arrested him Svoboda appeared to have been confused and disoriented at the time of his arrest. It’s unclear exactly why he was trying to steal the flag.

 


U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu Introduces Federal Bill That Would Ban Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy

Lieu

LGBT conversion therapy would be considered fraud and outlawed in all 50 states through the Federal Trade Commission under a proposal introduced by a California Democrat on Tuesday. 

As a member of the California Legislature, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu authored the Golden State's ban on conversion therapy to change people's sexual orientation. However, his federal "Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act" would go further than the California law, applying to people of all ages and not just those under 18. The proposal would also explicitly prohibit therapy to change people's gender identity, an idea that has gained momentum in the wake of the death of Leelah Alcorn.  

BuzzFeed News reports: 

“The public views conversion therapy as quackery, as something that harms people,” Lieu told BuzzFeed News on Monday afternoon, just after landing back in D.C. from California. “Eventually, I believe Congress will catch up to that, but you do need to start somewhere, so that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.”

He faces an uphill battle: The legislation, which would label conversion therapy an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” that would be illegal under the Federal Trade Commission Act, is being introduced with less than three dozen co-sponsors — all of whom are Democrats.

Lieu does, however, have a powerful ally in his effort. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has signed on as an original co-sponsor of the bill.

California, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, D.C. are the only jurisdictions that have passed laws banning conversion therapy, but only for minors. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama came out in support of banning the discredited practice. 

David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said the following of Lieu's bill: 

“This vitally important legislation has the potential to save countless lives across this country by helping to end a practice that uses fear and shame to tell LGBT people the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. We’re proud to work alongside Congressman Lieu and our partners to send a different message - a message of hope, acceptance, and love where such a demeaning and destructive practice isn’t promoted as useful therapy. Ending this harmful profit-making practice is something that all of Congress should be able to rally behind.”


Bill Banning 'Ex-gay' Conversion Therapy for Minors Heads to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's Desk for Signature

Oregon is on its way to become the fourth jurisdiction to ban 'ex-gay' conversion therapy for minors following a State Senate vote today in favor of a bill banning the practice.

BrownThe bill was overwhelmingly approved by the State House back in March and now heads to the desk of openly bisexual Governor Kate Brown (right), who is expected to sign it into law.

Said NCLR #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Samantha Ames:

"This lifesaving law will protect the health and well-being of LGBT youth in Oregon and ensure that licensed mental health professionals cannot abuse their position of trust to do lifelong harm to children and tear families apart. We applaud Basic Rights Oregon and bill champions Rep. Rob Nosse and Sen. Sara Gesler for their unshakeable leadership in guiding this bill through the legislative process, as well as the courageous survivors who testified on its behalf."

California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have all banned the practice. 


Oregon Senate Panel Passes Gay Conversion Therapy Ban: VIDEO

Southwick.Paul

The state-level push to ban gay conversion therapy continues to gain momentum in the wake of President Barack Obama's watershed announcement that he supports outlawing the discredited practice. 

Last week, the New York State Assembly passed a ban on gay conversion therapy. And this week, an Oregon Senate committee voted 3-2 to advance a similar bill. The Statesman Journal reported on the the committee hearing:  

"When you are in conversion therapy, you are taught that you have a sickness, a pathology, and that you need a cure," Portland resident Paul Southwick (above) said, choking back tears. "When the cure never comes, you are left even more anxious, hopeless and ashamed than when you started." ... 

Opponents say the state shouldn't interfere in family and religious matters.

"If we force kids to live homosexually if they don't want to, that puts them in harm's way," said Jayson Graves, head of the Colorado counseling organization Healing for the Soul, who says conversion therapy worked on him.

"We're not celebrated in this culture. We don't have television shows about us saying look how great it is to be ex-gay," Graves told the committee.

The measure now moves to the full Senate. If it passes, Oregon would become only the fourth jurisdiction in the US to ban gay conversion therapy, after California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. Similar bills have been introduced in at least 18 states, but have stalled in Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia. 

Watch Southwick's powerful testimony and the entire Oregon Senate committee hearing shortly after the 21:00 mark in the video, AFTER THE JUMP ...(warning: autoplay)

Continue reading "Oregon Senate Panel Passes Gay Conversion Therapy Ban: VIDEO" »


Judge Recommends $135,000 Fine for Oregon Bakers Who Discriminated Against Gay Couple

Sweet cakes

Gresham, Oregon bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein may be facing a fine of $135,000 for turning down a lesbian couple's wedding cake request back in January 2013, The Oregonian reports:

Rachel Bowman-Cryer should collect $75,000 and her wife, Laurel Bowman-Cryer, $60,000 from the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an administrative law judge for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said in a proposed order released Friday, April 24. [...]

Anna Harmon, one of three attorneys representing the Kleins, said, "It's a shocking result and it shows the state's relentless campaign to punish Oregonians who live and work according to their faith."

"The important thing to realize is this," she added, "This is real money that Aaron and Melissa are going to have to pay that otherwise would be used to pay their mortgage and feed their kids."

Lars Larson, the Portland-based talk radio host who broke the story more than two years ago, tweeted about the case Friday. He said, "Aaron and Melissa Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa need your help w/ a devastating fine from the state of Oregon," and linked to a fundraising site for the couple.

A "Support Sweet Cakes by Mellissa" GoFundMe page launched Friday quickly raised $110,000 for the bakery before being taken down for violating the site's Terms and Conditions.

Via GoFundMe:

 "After careful review by our team, we have found the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign to be in violation of our Terms and Conditions. The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal. While a different campaign was recently permitted for a pizzeria in Indiana, no laws were violated and the campaign remained live. However, the subjects of the "Support Sweet Cakes By Melissa" campaign have been formally charged by local authorities and found to be in violation of Oregon state law concerning discriminatory acts. Accordingly, the campaign has been disabled."


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