Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, a
Democrat, on Wednesday signed a bill into law that prohibits
therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender
identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay
Rhode Island is the tenth state in the
nation to approve such a law, and the fourth this year. The District
of Colombia has a similar ban.
Raimondo announced on Twitter that she
had signed the bill.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded the news.
“No child should be put through the
dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy,” said HRC
Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Medical
professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only
doesn't work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is
nothing short of child abuse.”
States with similar bans include
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois,
Vermont, New York and New Mexico. An increasing number of local
municipalities have also enacted similar protections, particularly in
Opponents of such bans have attempted
to challenge the laws, saying that they violate freedoms of speech
and religion. The Supreme Court, however, has refused to hear their
arguments, leaving in place lower court orders upholding the bans.