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NH State Senate Passes Ban On Conversion Therapy

Last week, we posted a story about the horrors associated with “conversion therapy” and why it should be banned in New Hampshire (and throughout the country).  Today we have some good news: The New Hampshire Senate just passed SB224, a bill to ban “conversion therapy on minors under 18.”

“I applaud my Senate colleagues for taking this important step to eliminate this dangerous practice in New Hampshire. No child should be told that they are not equal, not worthy, or should somehow conform to be like everybody else. That is the antithesis of freedom and human dignity,” said Senator Fuller Clark, prime sponsor of SB 224.

“All children should have the opportunity to grow up without being told that they should not be who they are. I commend my colleagues for their bipartisan passage of this bill to protect our children from the damaging effects of this practice,” Fuller Clark added. 

“As a young LGBTQ Granite Stater, it is unconscionable that it would be legal in this state for a child to be told that they are not equal, not worthy, or that they are somehow not normal,” said Brenna Connolly, a UNH Manchester student from Nashua. “Conversion therapy is a dangerous, discredited practice and is nothing more than sanctioned discrimination that does incredible physical and mental harm to LGBTQ children.” 

“While we are thankful that the Senate passed SB 224 today, we are calling on Governor Sununu to vocally support this bill and commit to signing it if it reaches his desk. Given the fact he nominated someone who has defended conversion therapy to be our new Education Commissioner, it is Governor Sununu’s responsibility to stand up and let all LGBTQ children know that he will protect them from dangerous practices like conversion therapy. Anything short will be unacceptable to our state’s proud tradition of advancing LGBTQ rights,” Connolly added.  

“Edelblut compared anti-LGBTQ counseling – and therefore, being gay or lesbian – to counseling to end a smoking, drinking, or drug addiction,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress, who released the video of Edelblut testifying against banning conversion therapy last year.  

Edelblut is not the only one who defends this type of child torture.  GOP State Senator Bob Giuda defended conversion therapy’s ability to “protect societal norms.” Senator Giuda once compared same-sex marriage to “bestiality.”

“Senator Giuda’s comments are horribly inhumane. Referring to gay children as ‘outside of the societal norm’ is precisely the reason they face bullying, physical harm, and question their own worth. This kind of thinking builds on the intolerance we saw in Washington this week as the Trump administration stripped away the trans rights enshrined into law during the Obama administration,” said Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party. 

“Fortunately, Sen. Giuda’s thinking isn’t in the majority. In a bipartisan fashion, the New Hampshire Senate stood up against the cruel practice of conversion therapy. We encourage the House to do the same and send this bill to the Governor’s desk. Governor Sununu has been silent on the issue of conversion therapy, and it’s time he make his position known,” added Buckley. 

Next the bill will move to the NH House where it will once again be debated before it is voted on.  Hopefully the House will follow the Senate’s bi-partisan support of this bill and ban conversion therapy for minors in NH.

End Child Abuse In The Name Of “Therapy”

‘The Plight of the Transgender’
Image by Rose Morelli, www.facebook.com/Rosemorelliphotography

This coming week the New Hampshire State Senate will debate and ultimately vote on a bill to prohibit “conversion therapy” to change a person’s gender presentation or identity for children under 18.

New Hampshire looks to join the five states and the District of Columbia that have already banned conversion therapy on minors.

“No child should be told that they are not equal, not worthy, or should somehow conform to be like everybody else. That is the antithesis of freedom and human dignity,” said Senator Fuller Clark, prime sponsor of SB 224.

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is aimed at young people in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. This harmful practice uses shame, rejection, and psychological abuse and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide,” the Senator added.

“It is not therapy but child abuse that can lead to suicide; and should be illegal,” said Mo Baxley, Former Executive Director of New Hampshire Freedom To Marry.

Conversion therapy is highly controversial due to the unproven tactics and the fact it has continually been deemed as ineffective.

“Research suggests the treatment can worsen feelings of self-hatred and anxiety, because it encourages people to fight or hate a sexual orientation that can’t be changed [5 Surprising Facts About Gay Conversion Therapy],” wrote Tia Ghose for LiveScience.

Ghose goes on to describe the practice of conversion therapy as “a method reminiscent of the one used in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ In aversion therapy, gay people were exposed to a negative stimulus (such as being shocked, given nausea drugs or imagining such exposures) while viewing same-sex erotic material.”

Conversion Therapy has not been proven to “convert” people but is actually harmful to “patients.”

American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry wrote in their 2012 study, Practice Parameter on Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Orientation, Gender Nonconformity, and Gender Discordance in Children and Adolescents:

“Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.”

“There is no published scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of “reparative therapy” as a treatment to change one’s sexual orientation,” stated the American Psychiatric Association in a 1997 study. They go on to say, “The potential risks of “reparative therapy” are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”

The Human Rights Coalition cites at least a dozen other organizations that show “conversion” or “reparative” therapy does not work and can cause more harm to young adults.

“People who have gone through conversion therapy face 8.9 times the rates of suicide ideation, face depression at 5.9 times the rate of their peers and are three times more likely to use illegal drugs and be at high risk for sexually transmitted infections,” wrote Zach Stafford in the Guardian.

It is time to end this inhumane practice, especially on children. This bill will be heard in the NH Senate this Thursday, Feb 23rd. Contact your State Senator and tell them you want them to support SB 224, a ban on conversion therapy in NH.

NH Senate Democrats Introduce Four New Bills On A Variety Of Issues

This week, Democrats in the New Hampshire Senate introduced new legislation aimed at strengthening elections laws, expanding career and technical training centers, ending so-called conversion therapy, and fulling funding the state’s Alcohol Fund to provide critical resources to prevention and treatment centers.


Senator Dan Feltes (D-Concord) introduced SB 197, a bill to appropriate $500,000 to the Department of Justice to fund the enforcement of our public integrity laws. Senator Feltes released the following comments on the bill: 

“New Hampshire received a D rating from the Center for Public Integrity and the ranks 35th out of 50 states due to the lack of transparency and enforcement of our election laws, our lobbying laws, and our campaign finance and public disclosure laws. SB 197 takes a common sense step forward to equip the Department of Justice with the legal staff needed to effectively enforce our laws.”

Currently, the Attorney General’s office is funded to employ just one election law attorney, and only on a part time basis.


Senator David Watters (D-Dover) introduced SB 101 and SB 75, two bills relative to New Hampshire’s career and technical education centers. SB 101 changes the high school attendance requirement for enrolling in a career and technical education (CTE) program from two years to one year. SB 75 establishes a tax credit for donations to career and technical education centers. Senator Watters offered the following comments on the legislation:

“New Hampshire’s career and technical programs are an invaluable resource to our communities,” said Senator Watters, prime sponsor of the bills. “These programs help students take advantage of workforce opportunities in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, automotive repair, and building trades. SB 101 supports access for sophomores to attend CTEs so they can successfully complete programs in pre-engineering, manufacturing or licensed nursing assistance, to then take advantage of internships and work experiences as seniors. Students with this training are very attractive to businesses that are clamoring for the workforce to fill these jobs.”

“I’ve also proposed a tax credit for contributions to CTEs,” added Senator Watters. “We should do all that we can to support these institutions and I hope that my colleagues will give these bills their full consideration.” 


Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) introduced SB 224 before the Health and Human Services Committee to prohibit the practice of conversion therapy relative to sexual orientation for children younger than 18 years old. Senator Fuller Clark released the following comments on the bill:

“No child should be told that they are not equal, not worthy, or should somehow conform to be like everybody else. That is the antithesis of freedom and human dignity,” said Senator Fuller Clark, prime sponsor of SB 224.

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice that is aimed at young people in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. This harmful practice uses shame, rejection, and psychological abuse and can lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide.” 

“I was very disappointed when legislation to end this practice failed to pass the legislature last year,” continued Senator Fuller Clark. “As a mother of a child who is gay, I want all children to be able to grow up without being told that they should not be who they are. And as elected officials, we have the responsibility to protect all New Hampshire children from dangerous practices like conversion therapy. New Hampshire families have the right to expect that a licensed therapist will not put their children at risk of harm. I strongly encourage my colleagues to support this bill for the best interests of our children.”


“Governor Sununu has called substance abuse the biggest issue that we must tackle as a state. I completely agree, and that’s why I’ve introduced legislation to fully fund the state’s Alcohol Fund,” said Senator Kahn, prime sponsor of SB 196. 

The Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund, authorized in 2000 and fully active by 2003, offers an innovative solution to the state’s need to fund substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. The original text of the law mandates that 5% of the gross profits from the sale of alcohol be dedicated to combating drug and alcohol problems in New Hampshire. Among the many critical services this fund was intended to support, a fully financed Alcohol Fund provides the resources for medication assisted treatment and withdrawal services, recovery support, and public awareness and education programs. 

Despite the original intent of the law, the Alcohol Fund only received its full appropriation once, in 2003. Since then, the fund’s formula has been amended to allocate just 1.7% of Liquor Commission revenue to addiction services despite the escalating epidemic of heroin and opioid misuse in the state. 

“SB 196 reinstates the original 5% formula so that the fund may finally operate as was originally intended. It is unfortunate that this forward-thinking legislation has never been given the chance to take full effect. I urge Governor Sununu and my colleagues in the Senate to seriously consider the merits of SB 196 to provide immediate and sustained support for our substance misuse and prevention programs. Where we invest our money is a direct reflection of our priorities, and our priorities ought to be with the people in New Hampshire who need care.”

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