COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A therapy treatment aimed at "converting" gay children to be heterosexual is coming under fire by an Ohio lawmaker.
Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat, wants to ban the practice saying it is harmful to children.
"What we're fearful is that this is going to be more destructive to the young person that somehow they need to change themselves," she said.
Last June, California-based Exodus International ended 37 years of using the method and actually apologized to the gay community. A similiar bill was signed into law by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in August.
"What we're trying to do is to ensure that we're not harming young people and making them feel like there's something wrong with them, that we're trying to cure a problem so to speak," Tavares said.
Tavares says they're trying to be proactive on the issue. She claims there is support for the bill on both sides of the aisle and from several professional groups.
However, one advocate says the treatment does work and is often sought out by people who have homosexual feelings but don't want to.
"They don't believe they're gay. They don't identify as gay," said Christopher Doyle with Voice of the Voiceless, a group that helps people change their sexual orientation.
Doyle, who was gay for several years before getting treatment and becoming a heterosexual and now has a wife and three children, says about half of his clients were victims of same-sex sexual abuse as children.
"There's no studies and scientists can't confirm that there's a simple biological explination for development of homosexual feelings," Doyle said.
He thinks the ban will actually hurt children by forcing them to keep having to deal with unwanted homosexual feelings.
"It's a direct assault on the freedom of speech, on the freedom of religion, and a self-determination of a family, the parents, and a child," he said.
Tavares says the bill wouldn't keep parents from taking their children out of state to get the treatment. She claims that in many cases the parents are forcing the child to undergo the therapy. Doyle says that's a situation he wouldn't get involved in.
"I would not work with a same-sex attracted child or a gay identified child who did not want to change," he said.
(Photo courtesy Getty Images)