How much longer are some Colorado lawmakers going to agonize over the fact that the tide has turned in a society that once defended hating and marginalizing gays?

For the second time in as many years, Republican state legislators killed a measure seeking to outlaw the dangerous quackery of so-called gay conversion therapy inflicted on victims under 18.

No one in this country, or anywhere else, with anything resembling bona-fide scientific or medical creds disputes the fact that this so-called “therapy” is a dangerous fraud.

The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, American College of Physicians, American Psychoanalytic Association and others have condemned it as a hoax, dangerous, useless or all of the above.

A group of high-profile organization including the Southern Poverty Law Center have been working to persuade the Federal Trade Commission to come down on this snake-oil industry for what it is: consumer fraud.

Programs such as People Can Change claim that homosexuality is a psychological illness caused essentially by a child having a spiritually or actually absent dad, a hovering or pesky mom, or hormones in the right place and the wrong time. And, they claim, the sexual attraction some men feel for other men, instead of women, is reversible or “curable.”

Women and lesbianism don’t seem important enough or profitable enough to most of these groups to bother.

It would be laughable if organizations like People Can Change and their “A.M.A.N.S Journey” weren’t ripping people off and causing real psychological harm.

“We needed to yield to the genuine masculinity inside us, giving up all “gayness” and homosexual identity or homosexual ways of relating,” online advertising touts.

PCC hardly has the corner on this huckster industry. Focus on the Family, notorious for backing a spiritual journey to the straight life, Mormons, NARTH and a long list of mostly religious entities dabble in this voodoo.

They prey on well-meaning parents who know all too well that, despite huge recent gains made in ending discrimination against homosexuals, as a society, we still pretty much treat them as inferior. Who wants to see their son or daughter face a life of having to worry about whether they’ll lose a job, a friend or a place to live because they’re sexually left handed in a right-handed world?

Don’t think for a minute that we’ve all finally moved on. You don’t have to look any farther than North Carolina and Mississippi this week. There, state lawmakers are legalizing bigotry, discrimination and homophobia under the pretense of religious freedom.

Here? At least state lawmakers like state Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs — no surprise there — didn’t argue Monday in the state Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee committee that parents have a God-given right to inflict medical quackery on their children. No, he argued that the right was one of choice and free speech.


Free speech? Owen argued that he kind of sympathized with people who had been horribly abused and psychologically maimed by the charlatans who “practice” this cruel treatment.

“Despite some of my concerns with how this has been abused, I don’t know how the state goes down a path of regulating conversation,” Hill told fellow committee members, according to the Durango Herald.

Senator, nobody’s trying to stop anyone, including yourself, from talking stupid. What House Bill 1210  would preclude is people selling a load of psychobabbling Swamp Root and forcing it on kids. Parents do a lot of messed up stuff in the name of love. The state has no business facilitating it.

Where this all really hails from is the endless marginalization of gays and lesbians.

If the United States military and even the U.S Supreme Court has gotten past its perennial mistreatment of homosexuals, why can’t conservative lawmakers?

Let it go. Homophobes fought a long and serious battle for eons, but it’s over. There can be no going back any more than we would allow for new segregation laws. Would this be a free speech issue if these quacks promised they could turn Asians into whites? Whites into blacks? Republicans into Democrats?

North Carolina is learning the hard way that miscreant lawmaker behavior has real and serious consequences. We can’t risk putting Colorado in the same place.

The rest of us are done just looking the other way when Colorado gays and lesbians are considered less important than heterosexuals. The Legislature would never tolerate the abuse of a child inflicted by faith healers or fakes offering to cure real diseases and risking their health or even lives. Gay kids aren’t sick. They’re just gay. And it’s this kind of dismissive treatment that causes gay people so much hurt and heartache their entire lives.

No one is trying to step on anyone’s right to free speech, but I for one am sick and tired of hearing it. Talk all you want, but keep the quackery to yourself.

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