Oregon Becomes Fourth Jurisdiction to Protect LGBT Kids from Conversion Therapy

SALEM, Ore. (May 21, 2015)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign applaud Oregon Gov. Kate Brown for signing House Bill 2307 into law, making Oregon the fourth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia—to protect LGBT youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

Today, Brown held a bill-signing ceremony to celebrate House Bill 2307, which protects LGBT youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide. It goes into effect immediately.

“We could not be prouder that Oregon has joined the ranks of states leading the way to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames. “Oregon families can now have confidence that a trusted professional will not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain, and Oregon kids can now rest easy in the knowledge that they are protected from being forced or coerced to undergo treatment for who they are. We are one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”

“Oregon has sent a strong message—one of hope, acceptance, and love for young people who happen to be LGBT,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Thanks to the state’s leaders who stood up against discrimination, LGBT young people in the state are now protected from this destructive and demeaning practice that should have no place in any therapy – a practice that uses fear and shame to tell them the only way to find love or acceptance is to change the very nature of who they are. HRC and our partners are proud to have played a role in this victory and are committed to passing these same protections nationwide.”

NCLR and the Human Rights Campaign, in conjunction with Basic Rights Oregon and other groups, played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill, which was sponsored by State Representative Rob Nosse. A broad range of groups supported HB 2307, including national LGBT organizations, mental health organizations, faith leaders, youth advocates, and civil rights organizations.

The bill signing ceremony comes the same week that U.S. Congressman Ted W. Lieu introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, the first nationwide bill that would protect LGBT people from the dangers of conversion therapy. Lieu announced the bill at a press conference on Tuesday that was attended by survivors of conversion therapy, members of the mental health and medical community, faith leaders, and representatives from NCLR, HRC, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

HRC and NCLR have partnered with state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation to end this dangerous practice, including laws passed in California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. In August of 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s law, which was signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in 2012. On Monday May 4, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold New Jersey’s law, which was signed by Republican Governor Chris Christie in August of 2013. NCLR attorneys have assisted in the defense of every state bill to date.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.