"Conversion therapy," a damaging and discredited practice aimed at changing a person's sexuality, could soon become illegal.
On Tuesday, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would ban conversion therapy across the U.S. Specifically, the bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission to classify those who practice conversion therapy as fraudulent.
According to the Washington Post, about 70 Democratic lawmakers have supported the bill, which was introduced by California representative Ted Lieu, along with Washington Senator Patty Murray and New Jersey senator Cory Booker.
"The bill is very simple," Lieu told the Washington Post. “It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”
Conversion therapy is currently illegal in 6 states and in the District of Columbia. The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act was first filed last year, but a Republican majority let the bill die without a hearing, according to NBC. In a statement to NBC, Senator Murray cited new fears under the Trump administration as reason for reintroducing the legislation.
"On this and so many other issues impacting the LGBTQ community, the Trump Administration has laid out a hateful, damaging agenda to undo hard-won progress, divide our communities, and hurt our friends, neighbors and family members just because of who they are or who they love," Murray told NBC.
Senator Booker also told NBC, "So-called 'conversion therapy' isn't therapy at all. It's a tortuous, fraudulent practice that has been repeatedly condemned by medical professionals and has no place in our country."
Conversion therapy has been discredited, though its ideas have remained widespread — Vice President Mike Pence has long been associated with support for conversion therap y despite its ideas being widely debunked.
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