UPDATE: The House passed a bill to make ‘conversion therapy’ illegal in MA. How did your Rep vote? Senate is next.

UPDATE 3/13: This bill passed the House! Five of six of Cape and Islands’ legislators voted “Yes”, Randy Hunt voted “Present”. If you aren’t on Cape Cod and want to know how your state rep voted, here is the list (roll call).

Thank you! There was opposition so we needed your voices. Even if you didn’t get to contact your legislators, if they voted yes, please send an email thanking them.  If your rep voted no, you might want to let her/him know you know how they voted and what you think of that vote. Find contact information for Cape Cod and Islands districts here, for other MA districts here, not sure who your State Rep is? Check here.

3/12: Once again, we are learning about an important vote late, and need your help. A quick email or phone message asking your State Rep to support this bill, makes a major difference! It lets our legislators know we are watching and we care. 

The bill, H140: An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, would make harmful “conversion therapy” for minors, illegal.

Please contact your state Representative, find contact information for Cape Cod and Islands districts here, for other MA districts here, not sure who your State Rep is? Check here. The ask is simple, please vote “yes” to make conversion therapy illegal in MA.

Let us know when you send an email or leave a message and if you hear back from your Rep by leaving a message here in comments, on our Facebook page (the pinned post at the top of the page.) After tomorrow’s vote we will watch for the senate vote and call on you to contact your senator.

This is a the roll call from the vote in the House at the end of the session last year.  Here on Cape Cod, Reps Randy Hunt and Will Crocker both voted against making conversion therapy for minors illegal, in other words, they support this type of therapy.  Reps who voted against this therapy need to hear from you and need to know we are watching their vote. Even if your Rep supported this bill last year, it helps to let them know you want them to support it this year.

What is conversion therapy and why is it considered damaging to minors?

Conversion therapy is intervention therapy designed to change a minor’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The Human Rights Commission has gathered a long list of medical organizations positions on conversion therapy here, including:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, The AACAP Policy on “Conversion Therapies” (2018), available at https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Policy_Statements/2018/Conversion_Therapy.aspx.

“The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds no evidence to support the application of any “therapeutic intervention” operating under the premise that a specific sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression is pathological. Furthermore, based on the scientific evidence, the AACAP asserts that such “conversion therapies” (or other interventions imposed with the intent of promoting a particular sexual orientation and/or gender as a preferred outcome) lack scientific credibility and clinical utility. Additionally, there is evidence that such interventions are harmful. As a result, “conversion therapies” should not be part of any behavioral health treatment of children and adolescents.”

The only other New England state where conversion therapy is still legal is Maine because Governor LePage vetoed the bill to ban it last year.

Last year, the House passed a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors in MA.  Because amendments and changes were made that meant the House bill was not the same as a Senate bill, and the Senate vote was at the last minute, the bill was not processed in time. For a the full story about the failure of last year’s bill see this excellent article in The New Boston Post.

We have sent the following to our Reps, Timothy.Whelan@mahouse.gov,
Randy.Hunt@mahouse.gov, Sarah.Peake@mahouse.gov, William.Crocker@mahouse.gov,

We discovered only yesterday that the bill to ban conversion therapy, H.140, is coming up for a vote today.

We ask on behalf of our members and followers that you vote yes to ban damaging conversion therapy practices in Massachusetts. According to numerous medical organizations (see attached) this therapy can cause serious psychological damage.

We note that two of you voted against making conversion therapy illegal last year. We hope that your personal and religious beliefs will not be your guide when voting on behalf of the health and civil rights of your constituents on this and other issues.

We also want to make note that the process of following bills to a vote seems to be secretive, as we find no calendars or agendas for meetings and only have word of mouth to rely on to learn when these bills are hitting scheduling marks like hearings and votes, and the results of each of these steps in the process. We are lucky to have good relationships with advocacy groups who are sponsors and advocates of bills, and a large network of other Indivisible groups to help us follow the bills that are important to our members and followers on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Plymouth and across MA.

(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)

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