SB65 passed the Senate yesterday with 12 yes votes, 3 no votes, 4 Senators not voting, 2 absent. Three Republicans voted for the bill: Ernie Lopez, Cathy Cloutier and Anthony Delcollo. Two Democrats did not vote: Bruce Ennis and Bobby Marshall. I suppose we should be grateful that these old timers did outright vote no. They should however consider retirement. They are out of time with both culture and party. Colin Bonini was in the hospital so he has an excuse for his absence. Greg Lavelle was once again conveniently absent.
This is a bill that will ban Gay Conversion Therapy, which is a “practice” or “treatment” that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including any effort to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. Conversion therapy has been rejected by all mainstream medical and mental health organizations, and there is no credible evidence that it is effective. Moreover, this practice poses enormous health risks to LGBTQ youth, including an increased sense of shame, guilt, hopelessness, stress, and anger, thus increasing the risk of anxiety, depression, and self-harm. The harm done by conversion therapy can last well into adulthood.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLES 24 AND 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CONVERSION THERAPY.
SPONSORS: McDowell, Heffernan, Henry, Sokola, Townsend, Baumbach, Bentz, Keeley, Kowalko, Osienski, Ramone, M.Smith
YES VOTES: HOUSE: _______ SENATE: Bushweller, Cloutier, Delcollo, Hansen, Henry, Lopez, McBride, McDowell, Sokola, Townsend, Walsh
NO VOTES: HOUSE: _________ SENATE: Hocker, Lawson, Richardson (Bonini and Lavelle were absent. Ennis, Marshall, Pettyjohn, Simpson did not vote)
HISTORY: Passed the Senate 12-3-4-2.
STATUS: Sent to the House.
There is never a reason to be grateful for a Delaware legislator “Not Voting” rather than voting “No”. The only valid reason for not voting is because of a conflict of interest. In Delaware, a vote does not pass merely by having more “Yes” votes than “No” votes. A vote does not pass in the Senate without 11 “Yes” votes. The number is 21 in the House. In my mind, those who choose to Not Vote are closet “No” votes.
I witnessed the effect of Conversion therapy on young men I knew who were forced into treatment by their religious parents who were convinced that any sexual orientation other than hetero-normative would condemn their children to hell-and who told their children that regularly and then delivered them to “therapists” who would pray and beat the Gay out of them. These friends were never the same and suffered the guilt and more serious emotional illnesses caused by being told by people they love and professionals they were told to trust, that they could “change”.
I am fortunate that in my period of doubt and questioning, I sought a professional who did not try to change me but helped me understand who I am. This bill does not deny young people that professional help if they need it. Nor does it deny adults from seeking to suppress who they truly are.
I completely agree with you, Mitch. Legislators are not sent to the General Assembly to not vote. If they are scared their vote will lose them their support in the party or in their district, perhaps there is something wrong with their vote position. And thank you for sharing your experience!
Whole hearted agreement on Bruce Ennis, he’s a throwback to a time we need to move on from, as noted if he had voted it most likely would have been no. I find “Conversion therapy” to be evil incarnate and a fine example of the religious right gone mad, to torment youth with this insanity is unforgivable and it must be stopped.
It’s not often I stand up for Bonini, but he is actually in the hospital… he couldn’t be there but Greg has no excuse, he probably “took a walk”. It’s time to primary both Ennis and Marshall should they run again. There is no excuse not to support this legislation. Shame on everyone who was a no or not voting.
Thanks for the info. I didn’t know Bonini was in the hospital and I retract my snideness towards his absence. I hope he fully recovers from whatever he is being treated for.
WTF is going on with Bobby Marshall? He is my Senator and he is getting further away from his constituents by the minute.
Time for him to retire.