New Hampshire State Representative Eric Schleien, 27, is introducing new legislation that if passed would ban LGBT conversion therapy intended to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors in The Granite State.
“I think our culture grows stronger when we’re able to accept different people’s lifestyles and treat people with honor and respect. I don’t think that’s that radical,” Schleien said. “You can’t convert people’s sexuality. I think most people get that.”
If Schleien’s bill passes, New Hampshire would become the fifth state to ban the practice. The American Psychological Association and other major health organizations have discredited its efficacy, but some Republican lawmakers think the practice is appropriate.
“There’s no way anyone’s going to convince me that it’s proper or good to ban therapy for children, or a person of any age, that thinks that they are or want to be a gender other than what they biologically are,” Rep. David Bates, 52, said.
Schleien said he expects opposition will center on parental rights or religious liberty.
As far as parental rights go, Schleien commented, “Just because you’re under 18 doesn’t mean that someone owns you to the point they can harm you.”
Schleien may have discussed his plans to ban conversion therapy when he met with Empire State Pride Agenda Director of Government Affair Matthew McMorrow last month.