Colorado advances ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy for teens

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A ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy has passed through Colorado’s House of Representatives.

So-called reparative therapy or ex-gay therapy is considered extremely damaging and harmful to LGBT people – but there is no legislation outlawing it in the majority of states.

Following a push on the issue in New Jersey, New York and Illinois, this week Colorado has become the latest state to attempt to outlaw the practise.

The Colorado House passed HB1210 by a vote of 35-29, opting to outlaw conversion therapy for LGBT youth.

A summary explains: “The bill prohibits a licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed or registered mental health care provider from engaging in conversion therapy with a patient under 18 years of age.

“A licensee who engages in these efforts is subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate licensing board.

“‘Conversion therapy’ means efforts that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

However, One Colorado has warned about some of the offensive rhetoric used to oppose the bill – with some lawmakers suggesting that homosexuality was a condition that can be treated like alcoholism.

The group warned: “Comparing LGBT Coloradans to alcoholics and drug addicts in an attempt to claim that LGBT people should be forced to change who they are is not only offensive – it’s dangerous.

“Young, LGBT Coloradans are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers – not because of who they are – but because of the rejection, harassment, and insensitive remarks they hear every day. Subjecting Colorado’s young people to conversion therapy only increases this risk.

“This is an issue that those on both sides of the aisle can agree on.

“Already four states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation, banning this harmful practice, including two states with Republican Governors – Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois.

“Colorado should follow their lead.”

However, the bill has a difficult path ahead – it will have to win cross-party support to pass the Republican-controlled Senate.