A member of Albany's Common Council says he's proposing legislation that would place a ban on therapy aimed at "converting" gay people. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Karen Tararache has more on the proposal, and what the controversial "conversion therapy" entails.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- In 1967, therapist Charles Socarides said, "Homosexuality is in fact a mental illness, which has reached epidemiological proportions."
Dr. Socarides believed homosexuality was a mental illness that could be cured through psychotherapy, even though his son Richard, was gay.
Richard Socarides recalled, "People ask, did he ever try to cure you? And it's an obvious question but the answer is no."
Acey Mercer, a Psychotherapist at Choices Counseling & Consulting explained, "Conversion or reparative therapy, ultimately the goal of it, historically has been to change or altar ones sexual orientation."
And it wasn't until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association removed "Sexual Orientation Disturbance" from it's manual of mental disorders. However, the belief that one can be "cured" of their natural homosexual tendencies, that sentiment still exists and is practiced in many parts of the world even today.
Albany Common Councilman Judd Krasher had the support of his family when he came out at the age of 18 but pressure from some forced him to participate in conversion therapy.
"I came out of it feeling worse than I did going into it, I felt an even greater sense of guilt and that I was this plague on society," Krasher said.
Proponents and those who practice this form of therapy might say that banning the therapy all together is a violation of first amendment rights, the freedom of speech.
Krasher added, "When speech becomes dangerous and causes imminent harm to an individual or a group of people then you have to have that discussion on how you can address that issue and when it comes to restorative therapy the evidence is irrefutable. It has horrible consequences."
Some say, maybe these programs don't work for everyone, but what's the harm?
Krasher answered, "Social isolation, increased levels of doubt and lack of self esteem, suicidal behavior, suicidal thoughts."
Mercer added, "As much as I'd like to believe that professionals doing this type of therapy are coming from a good place, studies just aren't showing that it's working in a positive way."
If the ban on restorative therapy is approved, Albany would be the first city in the nation with the legislation. However there are two states, California and New Jersey with similar legislation already passed.