Connecticut latest state to ban ‘ex-gay’ therapy for youth

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Connecticut has become the latest state to ban for youth the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” conversion therapy in the aftermath of Gov. Dan Malloy signing the prohibition into law.

Malloy signed the measure — House Bill 6695, also known as An Act Concerning the Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy — on Tuesday night, justifying it by saying in a statement “at a time when we see LGBTQ youth turning to suicide at record rates, to remain silent is to be complicit.”

“At a time when we see harassment increasing against anyone perceived as being different, at a time when we see the rights of our friends and neighbors being threatened by the national government, at a time when we see LGBTQ youth turning to suicide at record rates, to remain silent is to be complicit,” Malloy added. “This legislation is about protecting children and teens who have been forced to undergo this so-called therapy, despite the fact that it is not supported by any medical evidence and its only proven results have been harmful, destructive, and lasting.

The legislation was approved in the Connecticut House of Representatives last week by a vote of 141-8 and adopted in the State Senate on the same day Malley signed the bill by a unanimous vote of 36-0. The lead sponsors of the legislation were Rep. Jeff Currey (D-East Hartford) and Sen. Beth Bye (D-West Hartford).

Malloy’s signature makes Connecticut the eighth state in the country in addition to D.C. to ban the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy for youth. States that proceeded Connecticut are California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, New York and New Mexico. (New York’s ban is uniquely the result of an order signed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and not legislation.)

Laura Durso, vice president of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, said in statement Connecticut and other states that have enacted bans on “ex-gay” therapy “send the message that young LGBT people are welcome and accepted as they are.”

“Young people who experience rejection from their families are more than eight times more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers who are accepted by their families,” Durso said. “LGBT young people are not broken, and they do not need to be fixed.”

Although Malloy has signed legislation banning “ex-gay” conversion therapy for youth, he’s among the few governors who instituted a travel ban to North Carolina after the state enacted House Bill 2 and has yet to reaffirm it remains in place after Gov. Roy Cooper replaced it with a new anti-LGBT law.

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