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Anti-Conversion Therapy Bills Advance in Three States

Anti-Conversion Therapy Bills Advance in Three States

Legislation that would ban the use of “ex-gay” therapy on minors has advanced in Oregon, Iowa, and Colorado.

Oregon’s House of Representatives Tuesday passed a bill that would prohibit state-licensed mental health care professionals from subjecting people under age 18 to counseling aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity, The Oregonian reports. Seven Republicans joined House Democrats in approving the measure, which now goes to the Senate.

Of the three states, Oregon is where such legislation seems most likely to become law. “I think we’re in a really strong position to get it passed,” Jeana Frazzini, executive director of LGBT group Basic Rights Oregon, told The Oregonian.

Also Tuesday, the Iowa Senate OK’d a similar bill by a narrow margin of 26-24, will all Democrats in favor, all Republicans against, reports The Des Moines Register. Sen. Matt McCoy, who is gay, described so-called conversion therapy as “the worst kind of child abuse” and urged his fellow senators “to stand on the right side of history,” the Register notes.

The paper adds, though, that the bill has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. There, “it will likely be declared dead amid strong opposition from Christian conservatives,” the Register reports.

Last week, Colorado’s House passed an anti–conversion therapy measure, with just one Republican joining Democrats in supporting it, according to the Associated Press. But the Senate, which still has to vote on it, has a Republican majority, making it less likely to approve the bill.

California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., have all enacted laws barring licensed professionals from subjecting minors to conversion therapy, which has been deemed ineffective and harmful by all the nation’s major mental health organizations.


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