Gay conversion therapy has worked for many

To the editor:

On Feb. 8, The Berkshire Eagle applauded New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his dictat banning insurers from covering the cost of so-called gay conversion therapy. The editorial's headline read, "End hateful practice of 'gay conversion'." But such therapy needn't be hateful. It can be a lifeline.

Let me tell you about my friend Eli Marsh who overcame unwanted same sex attraction. He is gentle, funny, warm-hearted and compassionate. And very grateful to those who helped him change. He understands that overcoming unwanted attraction is very difficult and doesn't work for everyone. But it did work for him and for about 20 people he knows. Just because it doesn't work for many, why should it be banned for all?

And especially why should it be barred for those under 18 since the issue of sexual identity practically screams in the brains of most teenagers? If a 15 year-old-wants to overcome unwanted same sex attraction and wants a counselor to help with that, why not?

Could it be that some counselors are not to be recommended? I imagine so since there are good and bad counselors, doctors, lawyers, journalists and every profession. Thankfully our society doesn't over-regulate every profession. We allow word-of-mouth to do much of our vetting.

And what about the First Amendment? Free speech is protected, and helpful and healthy. Open discussion is a hallmark of our culture. Why should Cuomo undertake the thuggish action of prohibiting speech through banning insurance payments to counselors on this one type of therapy? I certainly hope Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker cares about providing options to teens.


Back to Eli, who is now happily married, the devoted father of two young children and working in the greater Albany area. He grew up in Western Massachusetts. He is happy to interact with those interested in this subject. Eli can be reached at

Robin Greenspan, Becket