Apr 8, 2019

Massachusetts now prohibits conversion therapy for minors

Photo: Michael Springer/Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday signed a legislation into law banning conversion therapy — a practice that attempts to change someone's sexual orientation — for minors in the state, MassLive reports.

Why it matters: This makes Massachusetts the 16th state, including the District of Columbia, to outlaw the practice that is widely opposed by the mainstream medical community as both ineffective and dangerous. A 2018 study by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University found that rates of attempted suicide by LGBT youths whose parents tried to change their sexual orientation were more than double the rate of those who reported no such attempts.

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Snapchat will no longer promote Trump's account in Discover

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump's account on its "Discover" page of curated content, a spokesperson tells Axios, after Trump tweeted comments that some suggested glorified violence amid racial justice protests.

Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going farther than other big tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.