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Obama Backs Petition to End Gay Conversion Therapy for Youth

Obama Backs Petition to End Gay Conversion Therapy for Youth

President Obama has voiced his support for a White House petition that would ban conversion therapy for youth. 

The petition calls for the government to “Enact Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy.” The proposed law is named for Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who committed suicide in December 2014 after undergoing conversion therapy. 

The petition has garnered over 120,000 signatures. 

USA Today reports Obama responded to the petition, writing,"tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out."

“What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build."

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote that the administration shares the concerns of the petitioners on conversion therapy for youth. 

Jarrett wrote, the "overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. As part of our dedication to protecting America's youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors."

Publication date: April 9, 2015