Denver lawmakers unanimously pass ban on gay cure therapy

Rainbow tub. Denver has outlawed gay cure therapy

Denver City Council has unanimously passed a ban on gay cure therapy.

The city-wide ban in Denver, Colorado, is the latest in a wave of bills across the US seeking to tackle the discredited practice of attempting to “change” sexual orientation or gender identity.

Denver City Council members unanimously voted for a city-wide ban on conversion therapy for minors on January 7.

This proposal is aimed at state-licensed therapists operating in the city, who Mayor of Denver Michael B. Hancock accused of “falsely claiming that being gay or transgender is a mental illness, and therefore taking advantage of parents and harming vulnerable youth.”

Denver ‘will never allow’ gay cure therapy

Mayor Hancock, a Democrat, said: “Tonight’s vote to ban conversion therapy is a great example of our city coming together and saying with one voice that we will never allow our LGBTQ+ youth to be the targets of these dubious practices, and that we are here to support them.

“Who they are is something to be celebrated, not maligned, and Denver will always be there to lift up our youth and ensure that they have the opportunity to grow up safe, happy and healthy.

“I want to thank the members of Denver City Council for their vote tonight, as well as Council members Robin Kniech and Jolon Clark, the LGBTQ commission, and all of our partners who stood beside us to support this proposal and advocate for its passing.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock participates in a panel discussion during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Infrastructure Week’ program May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

A total of 14 states have now passed statewide laws banning gay ‘cure’ therapy, with nine such laws passing in the past two years alone.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis pledged a statewide ban on gay cure therapy

Although Colorado lawmakers are yet to pass a statewide ban, the state made history in November by electing the nation’s first out gay governor, Jared Polis.

Polis is only the second out LGBT+ person to hold a state governorship, after Oregon’s bisexual Governor Kate Brown.

The newly-elected Polis has already vowed to push forward with a statewide ban on conversion therapy now that Democrats hold the governorship and both chambers of the Colorado legislature.

He told the Washington Blade in December he wanted to ensure “parents can’t force their children into unscientific, torturous conversion therapy.”

Polis added: “We, of course, have strong laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in Colorado, we certainly want to make the step to make sure we’re inclusive for everybody regardless of their race, or gender, or orientation and where they come from.”

The governor said he also wanted to “make [it] easier” for trans people to gain legal recognition in the state, adding that LGBT+ issues are “particularly important in the age of Trump with some of the divisive language that’s used against our community and other communities by the president.”