Washington State Lawmakers Ban “Conversion Therapy” For Minors

Washington State Lawmakers Ban “Conversion Therapy” For Minors

From the AP:

The Washington Legislature has passed a bill to ban licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation.

The Senate agreed on changes made in the House to Senate Bill 5722 and passed it on a 33-16 vote Saturday. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

The bill would deem it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed health care provider to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18.

Under the measure, if the provider violates the law, they would face sanctions ranging from fines to license revocation or suspension. Changes made in the House include the measure applying to non-licensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, religious denomination or church.

Research shows no evidence that one can change their sexual orientation. In fact, these practices can have dangerous effects on LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior.

So-called “conversion therapy” has been denounced by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice.

Several cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, and Arizona have also enacted similar protections.