A Republican representative who voted down a bill to ban gay conversion therapy turned out to be the co-founder of a center that provides it.
The bill in question, New Hampshire HB1661, sought to “prohibit persons licensed to provide counseling service to engage in conversion therapy with a person under 18 years of age.” The bill cited studies from the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs and many similar organizations arguing against the safety and efficacy of gay conversion therapy.
The bill was sponsored by a Republican, Eric Schleien, who took up the fight at the behest of a gay friend of his.
The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee voted to 13-8 hold back the bill this week, the Concord Monitor reports. They claimed it was because the bill limited parental rights.
Other critics called it an attack on religious freedom. Baptist Pastor David Carlson, quoted in the Union Leader, said, “Religious liberty is in our Bill of Rights, and it was put there to give people of faith the protection of expressing and living their values based on scripture, the word of God.”
One committee member who voted down the bill, Representative Mark Pearson, co-founded a Christian health center that provides gay conversion therapy to minors.
Pearson, quoted in the Concord Monitor, said:
Every one of my senior staff members has and continues to do this when an under-18 person asks for help to work through these things, when they say, ‘Would you help me stop having that attraction towards that person of my gender.’
Would you believe that I am grateful that my staff does this because if my staff didn’t do this, I know some back-alley people and their techniques are not good.
“Legitimate” gay conversion therapy involves psychological torture and, sometimes, electroshock. As far as legitimate health care practitioners are concerned, it’s all back-alley.
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