N.Y. Catholic Bishops Won’t Oppose Gov. Cuomo’s Rule To Stop Health Coverage for Gay Conversion Therapy

Michael W. Chapman | February 9, 2016 | 1:01pm EST
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Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Catholic

head of the Archdiocese of New

York.  (ABC screenshot.)

(CNSNews.com) – Although the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” constitute “grave depravity,” and can never “be approved,” the Catholic bishops of New York State “have not taken a position” on past bills and “do not foresee taking a position” on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new order banning private and public health insurers from covering gay conversion  therapy for minors.

Cuomo, a Catholic who supports homosexual marriage and abortion, made his announcement about prohibiting health care coverage for conversion (or reparative) therapy on Saturday, Feb. 6.

In a press release, Cuomo’s office said, “Multi-agency regulations announced today ban public and private health care insurers from covering the practice in New York State, and also prohibit various mental health facilities across the state from conducting the practice on minors.”

“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for,” said Gov. Cuomo. “New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example. We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are.”

“The New York State Department of Financial Services is issuing regulations barring New York insurers from providing coverage for conversion therapy given to an individual under the age of 18,” reads the press release.

“Additionally, the New York State Department of Health is prohibiting coverage of conversion therapy under New York’s Medicaid program and the New York State Office of Mental Health is issuing regulations prohibiting facilities under its jurisdiction from providing conversion therapy treatment to minors,” reads the statement.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger,

head of the Catholic Diocese of

Albany, N.Y.  (NYSCC)

Given the governor’s actions, CNSNews.com asked Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York and Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany if they opposed Cuomo’s actions and whether they supported the practice of reparative therapy as a health care choice for people who want to pursue it.

In response, Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, emailed CNSNews.com the following answer:

“I am the communications director for the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents Cardinal Dolan and New York State’s Catholic bishops in matters of public policy. I have heard from a couple of NYS Catholic diocesan communications directors that you had reached out to them with a query regarding Gov. Cuomo’s initiative to issue new regulations prohibiting insurers from covering so-called ‘gay conversion therapy’ for minors and to prohibit mental health facilities under state jurisdiction from offering it to minors. I am responding on behalf of those diocesan communications directors and bishops you emailed.

“In the past, bills have been introduced in the state legislature that would have banned insurance coverage for these therapies for minors. The Catholic Conference has not taken a position on these bills, and we do not foresee taking a position on the Governor’s executive action in this regard either. 

N.Y. Gov. Mario Cuomo and his

girlfriend Sandra Lee at a homosexual

pride parade in New York City. (AP)

“New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents the Evangelical churches in the state, has been strongly opposed to prohibitions related to conversion therapy. You can contact Stephen Hayford, their communications director at stephen@albanyupdate.com to see if they wish to comment on the Governor’s announcement.”

There are 10 Catholic bishops representing the state of New York, and at least 14 auxiliary bishops. According to the New York State Catholic Conference, there are 7.3 million Catholics in the state, and Catholicism is the single largest religious faith in New York.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2357)”

The Catechism further states, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)”

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