My name is Eli Lehrer. I'm a resident of Fairfax County, Virginia. I have been married to my wife Kari for 14 years and we have a son who is 11 years old. I am a conservative Republican who served as speechwriter to a Republican majority leader of the United States Senate. I have also held positions with the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute. I currently head the R Street Institute, a national conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C. I also serve, in a volunteer capacity, as national treasurer of the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization for LGBT republicans and their straight allies. My values are conservative: I believe in free markets, limited government, civil liberties (including those guaranteed by the Second Amendment) and individual responsibility. I am writing on my own behalf as a Virginia citizen and not necessarily as a representative of any of the organizations for which I am associated.
My own views are grounded in the fundamental truth that strong families are the foundation of a strong society. Conversion "therapy" for children is highly likely to be socially harmful because it weakens families. Parents who subject a child to almost certain-to-be-ineffective therapy dedicated to changing a fundamental fact of that child's identity are highly likely to damage their relationship with that child. Children subject to such “therapy” are more likely to doubt their own ability to form the lasting romantic relationships with other individuals that are the foundation of a strong society. In the unlikely event that such "therapy" were to convince a given LGB youth to avoid all romantic relationships in the future (the only way in which it could even might "work"), it would still be harmful to society because this decision would necessarily reduce the number of two parent families which provide the best setting for raising children.
There are, of course, many other medical and ethical reasons to believe that conversion therapy conducted in the course of medical practice out to be banned. Others with medical credentials are better qualified than I to comment on them. But allowing anybody to practice it under the color of medicine is a mistake and would weaken Virginia families.