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N.H. Senate Delays Vote on Whether to Ban LGBT "Conversion Therapy" for Minors

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

After much debate, the New Hampshire Senate Thursday postponed voting on a bill that would ban conversion therapy for minors. This controversial practice aims to convert people from being gay.

If passed, licensed counselors in the state would be prohibited from providing such services to anyone under 18.

Sen. David Pierce, a Democrat from Lebanon, told his colleagues about his personal struggles with coming out. Pierce said allowing this practice in New Hampshire tells minors who question their sexuality that they need to be fixed.  

“The evidence of success of these therapies is non-existent. People can change their behavior, they can change how they speak about it, but they cannot change their orientation, and why should we?," Pierce asked. "Why should anyone be asked to change who they are?”

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, a Democrat from Portsmouth, who's son is gay, agreed. 

"We do not need to take a step backward to that time when people and young people were ashamed when their orientation was either homosexual or lesbian," Clark told her colleagues before the vote was delayed.

Opponents of the ban question whether the practice exists in New Hampshire and argue a ban takes away parental rights.

Currently four states have similar laws on the books: Illinois, California, Oregon and New Jersey, as well as D.C.

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