US: Openly Gay State Senator to Journalists: Stop Reporting New York Banned Conversion Therapy

Brad Hoylman has been trying to pass a conversion therapy ban in New York for five years.

Shortly after he was elected in November 2012 to replace retiring lawmaker Tom Duane, the New York Senate’s only openly gay member introduced legislation outlawing the discredited practice, which seeks to “change” the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ minors.

When that bill was first introduced in 2013, just one state had banned conversion therapy: California. Thirteen other states have since joined the fray by passing their own legislation, but New York hasn’t.

Despite the New York State Legislature’s failure to take action against conversion therapy, many of Hoylman’s colleagues think it’s already illegal. In a phone interview with INTO, the Democrat explains that he frequently hears from lawmakers on the other side of the aisle that Gov. Andrew Cuomo “already taken a stand on the issue.”

Hoylman says any claims, however, that the state has banned conversion therapy are “simply not true.”

Why it’s so important that New Yorkers think it’s an issue is that there are new conversion therapy centers in New York — out of all the states in the country. People think that conversion therapy is a Middle America issue when L.A. and New York City have the highest concentration of conversion therapy centers.
— Brad Hoylman

“The governor’s order restricts conversion therapy by banning public and private health care insurers from covering conversion therapy in the state, but it has not fully banned the practice,” the Senator states.

But if Cuomo’s order didn’t fully ban conversion therapy in the state of New York, where did Hoylman’s colleagues get the message that it was already outlawed?

One answer, the lawmaker claims, is in the headlines.

Here’s what is real: Two years ago Cuomo became the first governor in the U.S. to sign an executive order limiting how conversion therapy can be practiced in the state. In addition to blocking insurance coverage for conversion treatments, the order also prevents medical practitioners from receiving reimbursements under New York’s Medicaid program.

Hoylman claims that action, while groundbreaking, was largely symbolic. Read more via INTO