Washington state passes ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy for minors

A bill to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors has been approved by lawmakers in Washington state.

The US state could become the latest to outlaw the use of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to attempt to change the sexuality of minors.

Performing gay cure therapy on minors is already is illegal in nine US states and counting, as well as Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces, and the Australian state of Victoria.

The practice is still technically legal in the UK.

Experts overwhelmingly agree that attempts to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often extremely harmful. Attempts to force teens to repress their sexuality has been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.

Washington state has this week become the latest to give the green light to a bill to outlaw the treatment.

Lawmakers in the state’s House of Representatives approved the bill by a vote of 66-32, after it cleared the Senate earlier this month.

Although the vote was broadly along party lines, more than a dozen Republicans joined the state’s Democratic majority in voting for the ban.

The bill will now go back to the Senate for concurrence heading to the desk of the state’s Governor, Democrat Jay Inslee, who has previously vowed to sign the bill into law.

Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse said: “No child should be put through the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy.

“This outdated and dangerous practice has been rejected by medical professionals and has resulted in life-threatening consequences for countless LGBTQ youth.

“We thank the state legislators who voted to protect young Washingtonians from this inhumane practice.”

A bill was introduced in California last month which would see practitioners of debunked gay ‘cure’ therapies prosecuted for consumer fraud.

Out lawmaker Evan Low, who sits on the state’s Legislative Assembly, drew up AB-2943, known as the Unlawful business practices: sexual orientation change efforts bill.

The bill would build on the existing consumer protection law to introduce a possible conviction under state law for gay ‘cure’ practitioners.

The UK government recently said it would consider banning gay ‘cure’ therapy.

British health minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: “This is an issue the Government is keeping under review and we are constantly working towards improving the evidence base.”

She added: “The Government rejects utterly the notion that sexuality is something to be cured, and condemns gay conversion therapy.

“The evidence base is clear that conversion therapy is not only ineffective but is potentially harmful to participants.

“That is why officials have worked with the main registration and accreditation bodies for psychotherapy and counselling practitioners, including the UK Council for Psychotherapy, to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to help put a stop to this bogus treatment.”