SB 270, a law which will ban people from carrying out the discredited practice of gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors is now on its way to the governor’s desk to be given approval.
Depending on when the governor, David Ige, gives the law his approval, Hawaii will become either the eleventh or twelfth state to ban the practice. Maryland also has a bill banning gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors waiting for approval.
Fifteen other states are currently debating bans on the practice. They are Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
However, even though the practice is still legal in most of the states, certain cities like Cincinnati in Ohio or Miami in Florida have banned the practice.
The bill sailed through both the legislative house, and the state’s Senate. In the former only two Republicans opposed the bill, and in the latter it was only opposed by Democratic Senator Mike Gabbard. Gabbard is also the head of the Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, which has previously sought to outlaw same-sex marriage in the state.
NewNowNext reports that Michael Golojuch, who is the chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s LGBT Caucus said: “This has been a priority of the caucus for years.”
He continued, saying that the passage of the bill “ensures that LGBTQ youth will not be tortured by mental health professionals.”
The bill itself reads: “The American Psychological Association convened a task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.
“The task force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts.
“The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are unlikely to be successful and involve risk of harm to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, including depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviours.
“The legislature further finds that children and adolescents who participate in these types of sexual orientation change efforts, which often use fear-based techniques, are given inaccurate scientific information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and are also at risk of increased self-stigma and psychological distress.
“The legislature additionally finds that sexual orientation change efforts are opposed by the country’s leading medical and mental health professional organisations, including the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“The purpose of this Act is to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts by regulating the conduct of specific state-licensed persons who provide professional counselling to minors under the age of eighteen and prohibiting these professionals from engaging in, attempting to engage in, or advertising the offering of sexual orientation change efforts on persons under eighteen years of age.”
Even though gay ‘cure’ therapy is still legal in most U.S. states, hopefully those states that are debating banning the practice will do soon, and the other states will swiftly follow.