WASHINGTON – Yesterday, President Obama responded to a “We the People” petition by announcing both his opposition to so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBT youth and his support of efforts to ban it. Following this important step in the government’s efforts to prevent the abuse of LGBT youth and protect their rights, Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, released this statement:

“The president’s call to ban so-called conversion therapy is a major victory not only for the safety and equal rights of LGBT youth, but for religious freedom in America. Too many purveyors of these dangerous and harmful treatments have used religious language to peddle their false services and prey on families of faith. The president’s announcement should be a reminder to religious communities and leaders across the country of the dangers of this kind of ‘therapy.’”

“By rejecting conversion therapy, we take an important step toward fully accepting and embracing the presence of the divine in all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People of all faiths have a responsibility to reject abusive pseudo-psychology and abandon practices that invalidate the identities of our LGBT children. Time and again we have witnessed the tragedies that such disrespect and disregard can cause. President Obama’s words provide hope for those young people enduring this mistreatment while we continue the important work of abolishing this insidious practice.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.