(March 10) – Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, joined with House Democrats today to pass HB15-1175, Rep. Paul Rosenthal’s bill to ban “conversion therapy” of minors in Colorado.

“Conversion therapy” is a dangerous and discredited practice aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or suppressing a person’s gender identity. The practice has been rejected by every mainstream mental health professional association, and its victims are at greater risk of depression, substance abuse and suicide.

“I found my happiness by being who I am,” Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, told the House this morning. “But this bill isn’t about me, or any members of the LGBT caucus here. You see, we all made it. We survived. This bill is for the number of kids who don’t make it. Because trusted adults tell them that there is something wrong with them. That who they are is wrong, and not good enough. That they will never be happy. That they need to change. Adults who should know better. Adults attempting to convert a young person into who they believe they should be.”

“Sexual orientation isn’t a choice,” Rep Esgar continued. “It’s not something that can be cured, because it’s not a sickness.”

She was reacting to a statement distributed to members and the press before the third-reading vote by Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs. He went off on the bill, saying its supporters “want Big Government to come into your doctor’s office, and then into your bedroom.”

Rep. Klingenschmitt’s wild tirade included assertions that the bill:

· Means “only the government can tell you who to have sex with.”
· Says doctors “must contradict some patients’ religious views.”
· Will increase child abuse.
· Could ban the Bible.
· Prohibits religious conversions.
· Infringes free speech.
· Mandates discrimination.
· Restricts religious freedom.
· Takes away parental rights.
· Threatens freedom of the press.

“These are the kinds of remarks we have been expecting and fearing from Rep. Klingenschmitt since the session began,” Rep. Rosenthal, D-Denver, said after the 35-29 vote that sent the bill to the Senate.

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