The Southern Poverty Law Center strongly condemns the possible inclusion of an anti-gay, conversion therapy plank in the Republican Party platform that will be adopted at the party’s convention next week.
Modern science has entirely and thoroughly debunked conversion therapy – a term used to describe the discredited practices that purportedly can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Not only has conversion therapy been proven to be fraudulent, it can cause grave harm, up to and including suicidality. And it tears families apart.
As the SPLC recently reported, those who continue to practice it entirely reject modern scientific knowledge in favor of myths about the cause of homosexuality – myths that reinforce the shame and stigma the LGBT community has faced for so long. This is why several states and municipalities have banned conversion therapy for minors and why more than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed onto legislation that would outlaw it for everyone.
Anti-LGBT extremist groups embrace conversion therapy because it is premised on precisely the same lies that undergird their hate. Indeed, the person responsible for pushing the pro-conversion therapy plank is none other than Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who has said that pedophilia “is a homosexual problem.”
Last week, the SPLC published an account of how hate and extremism has influenced the presidential campaign. This is just one more way.
We urge the GOP to reject the lies of anti-LGBT extremists like Tony Perkins.
About the author: David Dinielli is the Deputy Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.