A resolution in support of legislation in the state General Assembly calling for a ban on conversion therapy for children under the age of 18 was approved by the Solebury Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, July 16.
Conversion therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using coercion, pressure, spiritual interventions, and prayer.
More than two dozen states have banned the practice.
The resolution passed unanimously Tuesday calls for the state and federal government to support such a ban for Pennsylvania.
Before the vote, one resident spoke out against the resolution, saying it limits parental authority.
“You’re limiting me as a parent. Why are the supervisors stepping in as parents? It’s my choice (as a parent),” she said.
Supervisor Robert McEwan, who introduced the measure, said, “A number of parents have raised the issue and asked us to do this.”
Legislation pending in the state General Assembly would “prohibit sexual orientation change efforts” or ‘conversion therapy’ as to individuals under 18 years of age, including efforts to change such a person’s gender identity, and would expressly include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression under state anti-discrimination laws.”
The township’s proposed resolution also endorses legislation that:
– expressly includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and general expression as protected classes from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations;
– maintains federal, state and local authority to prohibit and remedy discrimination.
New legislation is needed, according to the township resolution, because federal and state anti-discrimination statutes do not expressly prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The measure argues that “the freedom to be who a person is and the ability to access the means to build a life of one’s own choosing, including an equal opportunity at success, are fundamental values of our society.”
And that “such equal opportunity and freedom is meaningless when a good job, housing, or participation in other aspects of society can be denied to a person or taken away simply because of who that person is, who they love, and/or prejudice as to how a person looks, acts, or preconceptions about how a person should look or act.”
The resolution will be forwarded to state Sen. Steve Santarsiero, state Rep. Wendi Thomas, Gov. Tom Wolfe, U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and U.S. Senators Bob Casey and Patrick Toomey.