NY Bishops Won’t Oppose Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

News: Government
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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  February 12, 2016   

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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishops of New York have no plans to oppose state measures against gay conversion therapy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a February 6 press release he would ban counseling for minors to help get rid of unwanted same-sex desires, which he called "a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice."

"New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades," Cuomo said, "and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example."

"We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are," he insisted.

In addition to banning gay reparative therapy for those under 18, the new regulations will bar healthcare coverage for any form of gay conversion therapy.

The president of the American Psychiatric Association is praising the measures. "Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are commended for taking a principled and scientific stand," said President Renee Binder.

The New York state bishops have no intention to oppose the regulations. In response to a query by CNSNews, Dennis Poust — who represents Cdl. Timothy Dolan and the 23 other bishops in New York as communications director for the NY State Catholic Conference of Bishops — said in an email:

In the past, bills have been introduced in the state legislature that would have banned insurance coverage for these therapies for minors. The Catholic Conference has not taken a position on these bills, and we do not foresee taking a position on the Governor's executive action in this regard either. 

Instead, Poust directed the media outfit to the group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a coalition of Evangelical churches that have taken a strong public stand opposing the regulations. "You can contact Stephen Hayford, their communications director ... to see if they wish to comment on the Governor's announcement," Poust recommended.

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The New York bishops have been criticized for their silence on past laws, e.g., the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in New York. Aside from a single, little-known radio interview where Cdl. Dolan criticized the bill, he and the other bishops put up no official public opposition to the law, which passed by a narrow margin — thanks to two critical votes by Catholic state senators, both members of the Knights of Columbus.

The day after passage of the law legalizing gay "marriage" in the state, Cdl. Dolan said nothing about it from the pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral — although he did take time to speak with the New York press to apologize to homosexuals for the Church's treatment of them in the past.

Dolan was similarly silent after the U.S. Supreme Court declared gay "marriage" a constitutional right in June. In spite of multiple public condemnations of the ruling issued by his brother bishops across the country, Cdl.  Dolan himself remained silent. When asked by ChurchMilitant.com whether he'd be releasing any statement, communications director Joe Zwilling said it would be "unlikely."

Cuomo's press release makes clear his conversion therapy ban does not include therapy to help transgendered individuals transition from one gender to another.


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