Cooper moves to block conversion therapy funds

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s governor has signed an order barring the state health department from using public funds on conversion therapy meant to change young people’s sexual orientations.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s order Friday blocks funds controlled by executive branch agencies from paying for such therapy for minors. That includes money for the state’s Medicaid program.

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The governor’s order defines conversion therapy as practices meant to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, which can include efforts to stifle certain behaviors or reduce romantic feelings toward the same sex.

Equality NC and the Campaign for Southern Equality praised Cooper’s action as a step in the right direction.

More than a dozen states have enacted laws to ban the practice that’s opposed by the American Psychological Association. Similar legislation is pending in North Carolina.