New York legislature votes to ban conversion therapy

New York legislature votes to ban conversion therapy
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The New York state legislature voted Tuesday to ban conversion therapy, a debunked practice that attempts to change an individual's sexual orientation. 

The measure, which prohibits the practice on minors, passed the state Senate by a vote of 57-4 and the Assembly by a vote of 134-3, according to NBC News.

The bill will head to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) desk and his signature would make New York the 15th state to ban the practice. The practice is also prohibited in Washington, D.C.

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The bill's text states that efforts by a licensed mental health professional to change the sexual orientation of a minor will be considered "unprofessional conduct and shall subject the provider to discipline by the provider's licensing entity."

In a statement, state Senator Brad Hoylman (D), the Senate sponsor of the bill, said conversion therapy is "among the worst frauds in history."

"The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families. ... At a time when the laws of this country are beginning to embrace the LGBT community, we must also do everything we can to nurture and protect our children as they discover their identities," he added.

The bill was previously approved several times in the Assembly but stalled in the Senate, where Republicans held control before this year.

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised the approval of the legislation in a statement, calling it "a vivid illustration of the importance of electing pro-equality lawmakers.”

“Due to the efforts of countless advocates and leaders, transgender New Yorkers will now be explicitly protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and LGBTQ youth will be protected from the dangerous, debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ This is a monumental day for fairness and equality across the Empire State," he said.