Republican lawmaker Eric Schleien
Republican lawmaker Eric Schleien

New Hampshire introduces a bill to ban “conversion” therapy for LGBT youth

27-year-old Republican lawmaker Eric Schleien is proposing legislation that would ban “conversion” therapy practices aimed towards LGBT minors in New Hampshire.

In a statement, the State Representative made his opinions public, saying “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. You can’t convert people’s sexuality. I think most people get that.”

Although The American Psychological Association (APA) and other important health organizations have discredited “conversion” therapy, Schleien’s stance on these practices still run contradictory to the opinions of other Republican lawmakers.

Representative David Bates stated “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.”

Another State Representative, Josh Moore, believes that the legislation would promote legal attacks on churches that preach against homosexuality.

Representative Schleien is expecting opposition and predicts the arguments will centre largely around parental rights and religious liberty. The legislation outlines that if a licensed professional is found providing “conversion” therapy to a minor, they would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and would be subject to discipline by the licensing authority.

Schleien has stated the legislation is not to hinder freedom of speech or religion, but to protect minors. He said “Just because you’re under 18 doesn’t mean that someone owns you to the point they can harm you.”

It has been shown that LGBT minors that have gone through this treatment are at a higher risk of suicide, depression, and substance abuse. The APA has confirmed that methods used in “conversion” therapy include inducing nausea while showing homoerotic images, electric shocks, and hypnosis.

New Hampshire would be the fifth state to ban the dangerous practice. The state would join the ranks of California, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Oregon, and Illinois.