Bills which would prohibit therapies
that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of
LGBT youth advanced Thursday in Colorado and Vermont.
The Vermont Senate gave final approval
to such a bill, sending it to the House.
Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell
called the practice abhorrent, the AP reported.
In Colorado, a similar bill received
preliminary approval in the House, though it faces a steep incline in
the GOP-led Senate.
Introduced by Democratic Representative
Paul Rosenthal, House Bill 1210 would prohibit so-called “conversion
therapy” to minors.
“Colorado families have a right to
know that a therapist will not put their child's well-being in
danger,” Rosenthal said. “So-called gay conversion therapy is an
imposition of a therapist's own view on the child. We heard in
committee from several adults who still bear the scars from a
therapist who tried to force them to be someone they are not. Let us
protect our children from this harmful practice.”
Dave Montez, executive director of LGBT
rights advocate One Colorado, said in testifying in favor of the bill
that such therapies use “rejection, shame, and psychological abuse
to force young people to try to change who they are.”
“These efforts are known to be
extremely dangerous and can lead to depression, decreased
self-esteem, substance abuse, self-harm and even suicide.”
“Every major professional medical and
mental health associations … consider conversion therapy
scientifically invalid and incredibly harmful to young people,” he
Three years ago, New Jersey became the
second state after California to enact such a law. Illinois, Oregon
and the District of Columbia have passed similar bans, while New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently issued an executive order that
protects youth from such therapies.
York Gov. Andrew Cuomo takes action to prevent “ex-gay” therapy
The Supreme Court has repeatedly
declined to hear challenges to such bans, leaving in place lower
courts' rulings upholding laws in New Jersey and California.