Gay Conversion Panel a First at United Nations
Religious leaders and mental health and human rights advocates have convened a panel at the United Nations to discuss the efficacy of gay conversion therapy, Baptist Press reports. Panel co-organizer Bruce Knotts, director of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, expressed hope it would be the first of many official discussions on the controversial treatment. Reports indicated most speakers at the event were against the therapy, but a letter was read from an ex-gay man who wrote that the therapy saved his life. "Let's make sexual orientation change efforts better and more responsible, but please don't eliminate it," he wrote. The treatment to help patients abandon the homosexual lifestyle has supporters and opponents in the United States, where California enacted legislation in 2012 outlawing the therapy among minors there -- the first state to do so. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has placed the California law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the issue. Christian supporters of the practice cite a biblically-based belief that homosexual behavior can be overcome, and some research does support the belief. At the U.N. panel, Jack Drescher, a psychoanalyst and member of the American Psychiatric Association, said any real debate about the treatment was cultural, not clinical.