Story at a glance

  • A conversion therapy ban was approved by the Virginia Senate yesterday.
  • The House introduced and passed the bill.
  • This would make Virginia the 20th state to outlaw conversion therapy.

The Virginia General Assembly is the latest state to work on passing legislation to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth. The legislation functions as an amendment that is slated to be added in Chapter 24 of Title 54.1 in the Code of Virginia. 

The bill defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.” Any therapies that fit this category would effectively be banned in the state of Virginia. 

The text notes that other therapeutic methods would still be legal, specifically treatments that include any type of counseling to provide acceptance, social support, identity exploration and development, or coping mechanisms. 

Furthermore, the ban extends to all Virginia residents under the age of 18. Anyone who practices conversion therapies on a child under the age of 18 would be subject to “disciplinary action” by the Virginia Department of Health Professions. 

The amendment concludes by stating that no public funds will be allocated towards conducting or funding conversion therapies, extending health benefits to cover them, or referring patients to conversion therapy.   

 

 

The proposed bill, SB 386, was passed 22-18 in the Senate on Feb. 17, and passed 66-27 in the House of Delegates back on Feb. 3. It was introduced by Democratic Delegate Patrick Hope and will head to the desk of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. 

 

Published on Feb 18, 2020