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WA governor signs legislation protecting youth from so-called conversion therapy

Yesterday, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill banning licensed therapists from attempting conversion therapy on minors. Washington becomes the 11th state in the nation to ban the practice. Other states with similar bans on conversion therapy for LGBT minors include California, Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nevada and New Mexico — plus the District of Columbia. A handful of other states have measures pending, including Maryland, where a bill passed the Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House.

Inslee called conversion therapy abuse, and said that “we are today prohibiting the abuse of our children.”

The law, which takes effect in June, will consider it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed healthcare provider to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18. Under the measure, if providers violate the law, they face sanctions ranging from fines to license revocation or suspension. The measure does not apply to nonlicensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, religious denomination or church.

“It would not have been possible for Governor Inslee to sign this bill into law without the support of the new Democratic state Senate,” said DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta. “Last fall, Washington voters elected Manka Dhingra to the state Senate, which flipped control of the chamber and gave Democrats full control of the state government. In just a few months, Washington Democrats expanded protections for the LGBTQ community and fought for voting rights, equal pay, gun safety, and net neutrality.”

HRC President Chad Griffin added, “Medical professionals agree this harmful and discredited practice not only doesn’t work but can also have life-threatening consequences. We thank the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against conversion therapy and urged their elected officials to adopt these crucial protections.”

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