In our ongoing efforts to protect religious liberty and parental rights in the State of New York, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has taken a leading role in opposing the passage of the Counselor Coercion Bill (Bill S.121 – Hoylman/A.4958 – Glick). The Counselor Coercion Bill would make it unlawful for mental health professionals to assist minors in overcoming unwanted same-sex (homosexual) attraction. This bill is a major item on the legislative agenda of New York’s same-sex activists. In prior years, the Counselor Coercion Bill has passed the State Assembly twice; however, it has never been voted upon in the State Senate.
The Counselor Coercion Bill would subject mental health professionals to discipline if they were to engage in “sexual orientation change efforts”—also known as change therapy—with clients under 18 years of age. The term “sexual orientation change efforts” is defined in the bill as “any practice by a mental health professional that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation.” The bill provides that mental health professionals who engage in change therapy with youth may have their professional licenses suspended, revoked, or annulled, may be required to perform community service, and may be punished with fines in amounts up to $10,000.00 per charge. These draconian provisions are based upon two false premises: (a) that same-sex attraction cannot be changed; and (b) that attempts to overcome unwanted same-sex attraction cause harm. In reality, many people have overcome unwanted same-sex attractions through a variety of means, and it is homosexual behavior – not change therapy – that is harmful and dangerous.
On Wednesday, May 4, the Counselor Coercion Bill was considered in the Senate Higher Education Committee. Unfortunately, the bill was reported and referred to the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee. The vote was 16-2, with eight senators voting in favor of the bill, eight senators voting “aye without recommendation” (a vote to advance the bill without giving any indication as to its merits), and two senators—Sens. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma) and Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) bravely voting “nay.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms urges Members of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee to oppose the Counselor Coercion Bill. To help us defeat this legislation, please write your state legislators today and urge them to vote against it.