New York will ban the practice of gay ‘cure’ therapy, in particular that performed on minors.
The announcement was made on Saturday by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said the state would move to ban it, including barring the state’s mental health facilities from attempting to ‘convert’ the gender identity or sexual orientation of minors.
In a statement, Cuomo said: “Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for.
“New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example.”
The change will be enforced as the state’s Department of Financial Services will issue regulations which bars insurers from covering gay ‘cure’ therapy for those under 18.
The state’s Health Department will also bar Medicaid coverage for the practice, and the Office of Mental Health will ban it from taking place in its facilities, the statement went on.
The decision has been hailed by LGBT rights organisations, as Cuomo said the decision was made because the practice is condemned by most professional medical bodies.
“No young person should suffer at the hands of the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy,” GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement this afternoon.
“GLAAD applauds Governor Cuomo’s courageous stand against bigotry and bias, continuing his legacy of advancing equality and acceptance for LGBT New Yorkers.”
A group of Jewish so-called gay ‘conversion’ therapists recently set up shop in Israel – after coming under fire in the US.
The ‘gay cure’ practitioners, who call themselves Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), had previously operated in the US state of New Jersey.
However, the group was shuttered last year after a court found that they broke the state’s consumer fraud protection law by claiming to be able to change the sexuality of clients.
Last year, Washington DC became the latest jurisdiction in the US to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy.
The UK Parliament is set to consider a private member’s bill on the issue – but the UK government says it has “no plans” to legislate.