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Gov. Wolf signs executive order protecting LGBTQ people from conversion therapy

The order directs Commonwealth agencies to take steps to discourage conversion therapy, something the governor says leads to negative mental health outcomes.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf signed an order Tuesday to protect members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The executive order protects members of the community from conversion therapy, a form of therapy used to cure or repair a person's attraction to the same sex, according to Web MD

The order directs commonwealth agencies to take steps to discourage conversion therapy, something the governor says leads to negative mental health outcomes and harms the people the therapy supposedly seeks to treat.

"The anti-LGBTQ legislation, the phony moral outrage on the part of right-wing politicians has fed a very real and a very dangerous wave of discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community," said Gov. Wolf. 

State funds and resources are not to be used for the purposes of providing or authorizing conversion therapy, according to the executive order. 

However, the order was also met with critiques. The Pennsylvania Family Institute released a statement calling the order a limit on speech that hinders the ability of counselors and therapists to help their patients. 

“Pennsylvanians who wish to reduce or cope with their unwanted same-sex attractions or lessen their gender dysphoria should be free to seek and obtain professional help, but Governor Wolf looks to use the force of government to stop them from achieving their own therapy goals,” says Alexis Sneller, Communications and Policy Officer at the Pennsylvania Family Institute.

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