State Watch

Colorado officially bans gay conversion therapy

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has signed a bill into law making his state the 18th in the nation to ban the practice of gay conversion therapy for minors.

Polis, who is himself gay, signed the legislation during a ceremony at the Capitol on Friday, saying he was excited to launch LGBT Pride Month in June with legislation outlawing what he called a “tortuous practice.”

Democrats in the state legislature succeeded in advancing the bill after several attempts to pass the ban were thwarted by Republicans in recent years when they held the majority in the Colorado General Assembly, The Associated Press noted.

{mosads}Under the bill, mental health providers are prohibited from engaging in conversion therapy with those under the age of 18.

The legislation bars licensed physicians or those specializing in psychiatry from efforts “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 attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

Licensed mental health providers who engage in the practice could be subject to disciplinary action by licensing boards, and the bill bars them from advertising the practice under a consumer protection law, the bill’s summary states.

Conversion therapy, a highly controversial practice designed to change someone’s sexual orientation, has been widely condemned by the mental health community as ineffective and is believe to cause series psychological harm in some cases.

The bill’s passage on Friday arrives two days after Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed similar legislation banning the practice on minors.

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