Washington State Bans Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

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Washington State Bans Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

It was considered a fait accompli, but Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee made it official with his signature on Wednesday: conversion therapy is now banned in the Evergreen State. Yesterday, Washington governor Jay Inslee signed the legislation banning the harmful practice definitively statewide. "We know that few practices hurt LGBTQ youth more than attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through the debunked practice of 'conversion therapy.' Washington state sets an example for the rest of the country in ensuring every child knows they are born ideal".

"Banning conversion therapy sends a loud and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth: there is nothing wrong with you", the openly gay lawmaker who sponsored the bill said. "This victory is part of a growing movement to stop conversion across the country and we won't rest until conversion therapy is banned in all 50 states".

There does remain a religious exemption, saying "non-licensed counselors acting under the auspices of a religious denomination, church, or organization may not be construed to be unprofessional conduct".

Washington joins nine other states - California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont - as well as the District of Columbia in banning the practice.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, was among the LGBT activists joining Inslee as he signed the bill into law.

Senate Bill 5722 passed through last month with a 33-16 vote, and through the House before that with a vote of 66-32.

As well as the 20,000 LGBT children who licensed professionals will try to make straight, another 57,000 will receive gay cure therapy from religious or spiritual advisors before the age of 18. Many studies also show increased rates of suicide among LGBTQ youth who are forced to undergo conversion therapy by their parents or guardians. They say banning conversion therapy is a slippery slope to restricting freedom of religion.

In earlier years, conversion therapy consisted of such techniques as castration and electroconvulsive shock therapy; today, the treatments are less physically damaging and include mainly cognitive and psychoanalytic methods.

The District of Columbia and 10 states including California and OR already ban the practice.

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