(March 14) – The House gave voice approval this morning to a bill by Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” and therefore to ensure that no more Colorado teens are subjected to this harmful practice. Over the loud objections of Republican members of the House, the bill proceeds to a third reading.
“Colorado families have a right to know that a therapist will not put their child’s well-being in danger,” said Rep. Rosenthal. “So-called gay conversion therapy is an imposition of a therapist’s own view on the child. We heard in committee from several adults who still bear the scars from a therapist who tried to force them to be someone they are not. Let us protect our children from this harmful practice.”
“This bill is about therapy that provides acceptance, understanding, coping and support—not trying to change someone into someone else,” said Rep. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.
“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. HB16-1210 prohibits physicians specializing in psychiatry and licensed or registered mental health professionals from engaging in conversion therapy with patients under 18 years of age. Studies have shown that minors being subjected to this practice are at a higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide.
During the bill’s hearing before the House Public Health Care &Human Services Committee, several individuals testified about the negative impacts of having survived “conversion therapy.” Republican members of the Committee compared being LGBT to drug use or alcohol addiction multiple times.
The approval sends the bill to the House floor for a third reading.