Committee hears emotional testimony on gay conversion therapy bill

The House Commerce Committee heard testimony on conversion therapy Tuesday as a bill looks to ban the practice on minors in Minnesota. 

Democratic lawmakers proposed the ban on conversion therapy – aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation - saying major medical groups have discredited the therapy. Meanwhile, opponents say the bill is an attack on individual choice on healthcare.

“I was not forced, I was not coerced, I was not abused. In fact, I was honored and loved and given the power and choice and dignity to think for myself," opponent Nathan Oyole said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the bill called the therapy damaging and dangerous.

“This bill would save lives,” said Jack Richter. “The ex-gay movement does not save lives.”

“I’ve never seen anyone change their orientation in the ex-gay movement, and I was in it 12 years,” he said. “If you go against this bill and choose to present an ex-gay ideal to your children, you could be driving them away from the very religion you promote. They could research and research and research their way right out of faith.”

“I was being told obscure lies to scare me about having other feelings for other guys. The self-hate being taught to me led me to risky behavior," added Junior Avalos.