Matt Landis tells us that an attraction to people of the same gender has been a controversial matter among Americans for generations. In part, it is rooted in Christian teachings which are widely interpreted to indicate heavenly disapproval of the practice. Some believe the attraction is a choice people make or a practice they have learned. By extension, it is believed the behavior can be un-learned or that attraction to the opposite sex can be taught. Still, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has yet to find credible proof that conversion therapy can alter a person’s fundamental attraction. In some cases, the treatment subjected to teenagers has been noted to be not only counterproductive, but outright harmful.
President Obama recently expressed his outrage over a young transgender youth whose parents subjected them to conversion therapy. The result was tragic as the teenager ended their life. For this reason, the president is calling for a federal ban of conversion therapy. Critics will charge that his actions are politically motivated as he seeks to galvanize the LGBT vote for this party ahead of next year’s elections. It could certainly make the issue part of a campaign platform. A federal ban would require congressional action which is unlikely to occur while the GOP controls congress. It would also further alienate the Evangelical Christian community among which such therapies still receive support. For the time being, the Obama administration is asking for individual states to enact conversion therapy bans of their own.