Kentucky Republicans Co-Lead Effort to Protect LGBTQ Youth

Kentucky State Rep. Kim Banta
Kentucky State Rep. Kim Banta

In a demonstration of bipartisan unity, Rep. Kim Banta has become one of four Republicans currently cosponsoring efforts in Kentucky to ban conversion therapy.

This week, Banta penned an op-ed in The River City News in support of protecting Kentucky LGBTQ youth from abuse by mental health providers. Banta wrote:

As a Republican, the Mental Health Protection Act has my full support because it deliberately protects the rights laid out in our constitution: including freedom of religion. The bill proposed specifically prevents only state-licensed providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minors. This bill does not restrict religious leaders from counseling youth and families on this subject. It does not criminalize, or even prevent, Christian pastors and other religious leaders from discussing the morality and church teachings surrounding same-sex attraction or gender identity. Nor would it prevent parents or guardians from having similar conversations with their kids or grandkids. What this bill does is protect families from predatory therapists who would seek financial gain with false hope. It protects the safety and well-being of Kentucky’s children.

As a former principal, I know that adolescents struggle with so much in their lives. Shaming, blaming, or telling them they can change something that comes so naturally to them is proven to be emotionally and mentally harmful – especially when it comes in the guise of state-sanctioned medical advice. I have also read the personal accounts of kids who went through this legal form of child torture, these kids indicating they were physically and emotionally abused by people who take advantage of parents in a time of need. Just as it is our responsibility to help fellow Kentuckians get through the COVID-19 crisis, we have a responsibility to help struggling Kentucky kids through a much more personal and internal crisis of their own. 

Banta’s op-ed reflects values of family and liberty, of which we invite much more, throughout the Republican Party.

Banta joins Republican state Sens. Alice Forgy Kerr, Julie Raque Adams, and state Rep. Jason Nemes, alongside more than 30 Democrats, in opting to put the health and safety of LGBTQ youths and their parents before partisan politics.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.

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