Garballey testifies on conversion-therapy legislation


Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) testified before the Joint Committee on Children and Families at a hearing Tuesday, March 5, to persuade legislators to support House Bill 140, An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors, which bans conversion therapy from being practiced by state licensed therapists. The representative also testified the same afternoon in support of House Bill 104, An Act to lift the cap on kids.

Advocates characterize the practice of conversion therapy as destructive to the developing identity of youth who are making, or have made, the decision to come out. The practice of conversion therapy is universally recognized as ineffective and harmful.

Such prominent organizations as the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization have expressed opposition about the medical efficacy of conversion therapy, and have warned about the harmful effects of the reinforcement of doubt about one’s sexual preference or gender identity.

“Conversion therapy is an outdated mode of thinking that simply does not work, and harms the children of my district and throughout the Commonwealth. We are not going to stand idle while this hurtful practice continues to occur in our communities,” Garballey said in a March 7 news release.

The same afternoon, Garballey testified before the Joint Committee on Children and Families to support An Act to lift the cap on kids. Massachusetts currently institutes a cap on benefits when a child is born while the family is receiving benefits. This ends up negatively affecting the family as a whole, and other siblings through no fault of their own. Only 17 states still use this threshold for benefits.

“What happens more often than not is that the most vulnerable citizens, the children of low-income earners, have to deal with the consequences of being unfairly stigmatized. No one is having children for the sole purpose of increasing the amount they receive from the state. It’s only hurting those that need help the most, and causing them to remain in the cycle of poverty,” he said in the release.

This news summary was published Thursday, March 7, 2019.