So-called “Conversion Ban” bill likely in 2021

September/October 2020

It really is not surprising that left-wing advocates would want to stop free speech and freedom of religion with a law.

On Aug. 25, the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations heard for “discussion only” a bill that would ban licensed counselors, social workers, pastoral counselors and many others from assisting youth with unwanted same-sex attractions or gender dysphoria, but would still allow youth to receive counseling if they seek to become homosexual or transgender.

Proponents of the bill are against what they call “conversion therapy” and claim that it is “torture” if licensed counselors share Biblical teachings on marriage, sexuality and gender with minors. More than 20 states have outlawed any type of “conversion therapy” due to such misinformed and misleading arguments.

Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) introduced a ban on conversion therapy last year, but it did not receive a hearing. At the committee hearing on Aug. 25, she stated that one’s sexual orientation is determined at conception, similar to other unchangeable genetic traits such as one’s skin or eye color. Sen. Kerr also stated, “Youth subjected to this torture are seven times more likely to commit suicide.” Sen. Kerr did not cite any scientific studies or findings to uphold these two significant statements.

Daniel Mingo, who walked away from a homosexual lifestyle nearly 30 years ago, testified in committee that he counsels individuals using Biblical discipleship, which the LGBT community has called “conversion therapy,” to help them turn from their homosexual attractions and gender dysphoria. Mingo stated there are thousands of individuals who have successfully embraced a Biblical lifestyle with respect to their sexual relationships.

Alongside Mingo was Joseph Backholm, Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement for the Family Research Council, and Cole Cuzick, policy analyst for The Family Foundation. After outlining a variety of Constitutional concerns for the First Amendment rights to speech and religion, Cuzick asked, “Is this General Assembly pursuing a ban on conversations of faith in the state of Kentucky?”

If the General Assembly were to pass the bill, Kentucky would become the first southern state with a Republican-controlled legislature to ban such therapy. National news sources including the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC News, and countless other media from around the United States covered the testimonies from the committee hearing.

Over the past few years, Kentucky has made national news for its bold pro-life bills. However, the Kentucky General Assembly has also made the national spotlight for its openness to this blatant anti-religious liberty measure that is heralded by the LGBTQ lobby. With the bill now having received a hearing in the Interim Session, it could receive a full Chamber vote during the 2021 legislative session.

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