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Letter: Put people before politics

Conversion Therapy is an unscientific practice that seeks to manipulate one’s sexual orientation or gender identity to heterosexual or cisgender. The “counselors” that administer this practice may resort to physical or psychological stress, religious guilt or shame, and isolation. Conversion therapy has been discredited by healthcare professionals nationwide because it is unnecessary, ineffective, and dangerous.

Supporters often cite religious freedom as justification. The First Amendment grants all citizens the right to choose their religion, since some religions regard homosexuality as sin, some parishioners mistakenly assume this gives parents the right to choose their child’s sexual preference. However, the 14th amendment of the U. S. Constitution grants all citizens bodily autonomy, which is the right to be the master of your own body.

Last month Rep. Peggy Bennett, House District 27A, invited a guest speaker to a town hall that attempted to discredit bodily autonomy as a ploy developed by Planned Parenthood to promote abortions, and they both demanded it be withheld from future school curriculum. When conversion therapy was banned by the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018 Peggy Bennett, a Republican, opposed that as well. Last week, while having a Republican House and Senate, Virginia became the 20th state to ban its practice. Peggy Bennett is clearly not putting all people before politics, and she is out of step even within her own party.

Thomas Martinez

Hayward, Minnesota