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Host: Scott LaMar

Pittsburgh's 'Conversion Therapy' Ban

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, Smart Talk | Dec 18, 2016 3:00 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, December 19th, 2016:

Conversion therapy is a non-scientific technique used to change the sexual orientation of people who identify as being gay.  It is widely discredited among the medical community including the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Medical Association.

Supporters base their arguments on Biblical verse they feel dictates opposition to homosexuality. 

Last year, the White House issued a statement declaring "As part of our dedication to protecting America's youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors."

Conversion Therapy can be especially dangerous for adolescents as they are pressured or forced into the process by parents and religious organizations opposed to homosexuality.  The administrators of the "therapy" are unlicensed and use unapproved techniques with no grounding in scientific reality.

The issue has been lifted to the forefront of LGBT+ concerns since Donald Trump's victory has elevated Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence to the office of the vice president.  Pence has supported conversion therapy in the past, saying in 2000: "[Public] Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."

So, supporters of LGBT+ rights are very concerned.

Seven states have banned the use of conversion therapy on minors.  A bill was brought before the state Legislature in the last session, but it died in committee without a vote.

Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of 'conversion therapy' on minors.  The bill was introduced by council president Bruce Kraus, who stated, as a gay man, conversion therapy represented "a form of soul murder."

Council President Kraus will join Smart Talk's Scott LaMar to talk about the ban and we'll speak with the Human Rights Campaign about the scope of the practice.

Comedian and social commentator Peterson Toscano will share his experiences as a young man looking to use conversion therapy to suppress his homosexuality, something he only learned to accept later in life.  A man who says he successfully changed his sexual orientation and provides the service will join us to discuss how and why he aids gay men who "choose to address those attractions in ways that align with their own personal faith, values, morals, beliefs and life goals."

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Peterson Toscano


- Where do homosexuals come from --straights!

How do they explain twins--one of whom is gay?

As a Catholic for 76 years I believe they should marry and adopt or have surrogate mothers.

This is like "Loving" all over again                    - Paul, Fayetteville

- I heard a program on NPR last year about a young lady in Utah whose family forced her into conversion therapy. It was documented in the book, "Saving Alex." The "therapy" was brutal. Alex's story eventually had a happy ending, with her parents' finally accepting her and her partner. Sadly, many families are torn apart over this.
Our school district was in turmoil for months years ago over the approval of a student club, called the "Gay-Straight Alliance." Several school board members lost their seats because they approved of the club. I feel our community has moved to a more accepting -- but not perfect -- place over this controversy.                                                                                           - Pat, Wanyesboro

-  I am wondering if the wise governor Pence would subsidize a conversion therapy from a heterosexual to a homosexual?                                                   - Stepanka

- Appears to be nothing other than a Sunday morning sermon at any of the five religion in effort and results                                                                            - Edward


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