Washington state has passed a bill making it illegal for licensed therapists to convert the sexual orientation of minors.
The state’s Senate passed a bill on Saturday (March 3rd), sanctioning therapists who attempt to perform gay conversion therapy on patients under the age of 18. Senate Bill 5722, which passed on a 33-16 vote, will now be sent off to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) for his signature, who is expected to sign it according to Tacoma’s News Tribune.
Under the new law, mental health providers who agree to perform such procedures would risk fines, suspension or being stripped of their license to practice. Changes made in the House include the measure applying to non-licensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, religious denomination or church.
“Children across the Evergreen State deserve to live their lives authentically and should never be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy,” The Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement. “It’s time for Washington to join the growing number of states and municipalities who are enacting these critical protections. We thank the state legislators who voted to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous practice and now call on Governor Inslee to sign this crucially important legislation.”
Conversion therapy is already banned in several states including California, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island as well as the District of Columbia.