FRC's Peter Sprigg Testifies before Massachusetts Legislature on Proposed Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Ban

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Alice Chao, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

BOSTON, MA –Family Research Council Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg testified today before the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities of the Massachusetts General Court. Mr. Sprigg’s testimony voiced opposition to House Bill 97, which would ban sexual orientation change efforts for minors.

Mr. Sprigg was a former resident of Massachusetts and was an aide to U.S. Rep. Robert Drinan (D-MA) in his district office in Waltham.

Mr. Sprigg testified in part:

“House Bill 97’s title refers to “abusive practices” to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors. All of us oppose truly “abusive practices” toward those ends. Some horror stories are often cited, such as the use of coercion or extreme aversive therapies.

“There are two problems with these arguments. First, there is no evidence that such techniques are being used anywhere in the United States today. Second, the prohibition in this bill is not limited to such “abusive” techniques. Instead, it would outlaw ordinary talk therapy, conducted in an ordinary counselor’s office, even if the client not only consents to, but desperately seeks this care.

“Advocates of legislation like this make two central claims—that sexual orientation change efforts (or SOCE) are ineffective, and that they are harmful. What is the scientific evidence for these claims?

“There is none—particularly with respect to minors, the population addressed by this bill. Although the American Psychological Association discourages such therapy, even their widely-quoted 2009 task force report came up empty in its search for an empirical foundation—beyond mere anecdotal evidence—for these two key arguments against it.

“I urge you to oppose House Bill 97,” concluded Sprigg.

Mr. Sprigg’s full testimony can be found here: