DES MOINES, Iowa - Licensed medical professionals could soon be banned from administering a type of therapy designed to change a child's sexual orientation.
"It would be like if you took a left handed child and every time they went to use their left hand, not only did you put it behind their back, you twisted it and told them how horrible they were,” said Donna Red Wing, executive director of One Iowa, a local LGBT organization.
Senate File 31 would ban licensed psychologists and therapists from practicing "conversion therapy" to gay or transgendered youth.
The bill was introduced by Iowa's only openly gay lawmaker, State Senator Matt McCoy.
While it would be illegal for licensed professionals to use conversion therapy, McCoy said this bill does not apply to religious groups.
"We believe churches should be able to speak out against being homosexual. We believe churches should be able to use bible beliefs and religious doctrines to teach, preach, and proclaim whatever their philosophy is,” Senator McCoy told Channel 13 News.
The FAMiLY LEADER, a social conservative organization released a statement on the issue asking lawmakers to oppose the bill.
A portion of the statements reads quote, “parents should be free to pursue professional counseling for their minor children as they see fit without interference from the arbitrary and political hand of government.”
Similar legislation has been passed in the last two years in California and New Jersey.