Conservatives won’t derail a bill intended to ban conversion therapy in the United States, speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi said.
A group of House Republicans signed a letter to Pelosi last month warning that any efforts to go further to ban those practices in federal health care programs — as the House has just done — could hurt efforts to remove the 17-year-old law on the books. Pelosi denounced efforts to exempt those programs.
Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Pelosi responded: “When it comes to conversion therapy, my gut is that women and young girls across America, and every member of Congress, will stand up for women and our children and stand up against bullying.”
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The House on Wednesday approved legislation intended to ban conversion therapy, also known as so-called gay conversion, a practice of encouraging people to seek or change their sexual orientation. Activists who pushed the legislation across the floor expressed hope that it would stand a better chance of passage in the Senate and being signed into law.
The bill to ban the practice passed 264-164. In the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to stop a filibuster, six Republicans have pledged to support the legislation.
On “This Week,” House Speaker Paul Ryan decried conversion therapy as “harmful and abusive.” But he said he wasn’t hopeful about the bill’s future in the Senate and said he hoped its passage would spark a national conversation about LGBTQ issues.
Among the many issues with the legislation that advocates are raising are the reach of that ban, which would apply to those in mental health programs but not those in other programs, and the potential bans in financial institutions like banks.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was named House Minority Leader after Nancy Pelosi lost the gavel.