Republicans in Texas want to pass a law encouraging "reparative therapy," a 100% unproven form of counseling intended to turn gay people straight — as if homosexuality is a disorder that needs to be cured. Seriously.Not only is it baseless, but it's also shown to be emotionally harmful. Anderson Cooper had a conversation with one of the supporters of the plan, state Rep. Bryan Hughes. Listen to their exchange below.
At 0:41, Hughes explains that this is a matter of rights and choice, which is ironic considering his party denies the rights of gay people to be who they are and to be with whomever they choose.
You'll catch a few minutes of fact dump by Cooper and fact dodge by Hughes. Then at 3:57, Cooper shares a clip that you'd think might have an impact on Hughes' view. But you'd be wrong.
At 6:13, Cooper gets to the heart of where Hughes is coming from: religion. And frankly, for an elected official to govern on that basis should be concerning not just to constituents who don't share his faith, but to anyone who believes we shouldn't use tax dollars to encourage something that could be harmful to people's emotional health.
FACT CHECK TIME!
Here's a report about the questionable science and potential harm of reparative therapy that has been endorsed by mental health professionals, pediatric physicians, social workers, and educators.
For more, see the American Psychological Association's detailed resolution on sexual orientation change therapy and the National Association of Social Workers' very strong position that reparative therapy "cannot and will not change sexual orientation."
It's also worth noting that one of the most well-known researchers who prompted support for reparative therapy in the 21st century, Dr. Robert Spitzer, abandoned his position in 2012 and issued a public apology for spreading unproven claims.