by Nick Morrow, Human Rights Campaign
HRC lauded the Colorado General Assembly’s passage of HB 1129, legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The bill is now headed to Governor Jared Polis’ desk. In November of 2018, Polis became the nation’s first openly gay man elected governor.
“We thank the Colorado General Assembly for their continued support of this crucial pro-equality legislation that provides life-saving protections for young people across the state of Colorado from the dangerous and discredited practice known as ‘conversion therapy,’” said HRC Field Director Marty Rouse. “Governor Polis has been a trailblazing champion for LGBTQ rights and representation in Colorado and we look forward to him signing these protections into law and his continued leadership on behalf of all Coloradans.”
When signed into law, Colorado will become the 16th state to enact statutory protections for youth from so-called “conversion therapy,” following Connecticut, California, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia.
In March, Puerto Rico’s Governor issued an executive order protecting minors in the commonwealth from the harmful practice. Massachusetts recently passed similar legislation that will head to the governor’s desk soon. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including at least fifty cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.
HRC has partnered with LGBTQ advocates across the state including One Colorado to advance pro-equality legislation in Colorado. HRC has also partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and state equality groups across the nation to pass state legislation protecting youth from conversion therapy. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.