(March 8) – Democrats on the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee passed a bill by Rep. Paul Rosenthal today to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” and therefore to ensure that no more Colorado minors are subjected to this harmful practice. All six Republican members of the committee voted as a bloc against the bill.

“Conversion therapy” is a dangerous and widely 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 in the United States. HB16-1210 prohibits physicians specializing in psychiatry and licensed or registered mental health professionals from engaging in this dangerous practice with patients under 18 years of age.

“Colorado has a responsibility to protect all young people from these dangerous practices,” testified Rep. Rosenthal, D-Denver. “This so-called ‘conversion therapy’ has proved damaging to those who undergo it, especially when it is imposed upon children. Studies have shown that minors being subjected to this therapy are at a higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide.”

Sarah Musick testified before the committee about her experiences with the practice. After Musick was enrolled in a “conversion therapy” program through Focus on the Family, she eventually attempted suicide in May 2010.

“The doctors diagnosed me with severe, chronic depression due to an existential crisis,” Musick said of the doctors who treated her after her suicide attempt. “Their clinical analysis was spot on.”

Republican members of the Committee shockingly compared being LGBT to drug use or alcohol addiction multiple times during the hearing.

The 7-6 vote sends the bill to the House floor.

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