The Obama Administration on Wednesday announced its support for laws that prohibit therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youth.
“As a part of our dedication to protecting America's youth, the administration supports the effort to ban the use of conversation therapy on minors because there's overwhelming scientific evidence that demonstrates conversion therapy, especially when practiced on young people, is neither medically, nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, told the Washington Blade.
The announcement is a response to a White House petition posted following the death of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old Ohio teen who took her own life after her parents sent her to therapy to alter her gender identity.
Her death fueled a movement for a nationwide law banning conversion therapy to minors already in place in California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
Jarrett said the administration was putting “a spotlight” on “actions that are taking place in the states” in hopes of building “some momentum for national dialogue.”
“We believe that although a national ban would require congressional action, we're hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the action taken by the states will lead to broader action that the administration would support,” she said.