Rhode Island has today become the latest US state to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy.
The state’s Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law House Bill (HB) 5277, a measure which protects LGBTQ youth in the state from the harmful and discredited practice of so-called conversion therapy.
Rhode Island is the fourth state so far this year to ban the practise.
Despite being overwhelmingly condemned by the medical community, only ten states have enacted bans on gay cure therapy – Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, and New Mexico, plus the District of Columbia.
A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
The Rhode Island law states: “This act would prohibit ‘conversion therapy’ by licensed health care professionals with respect to children under eighteen (18) years of age.
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“Violations of this act would subject the health care professional to disciplinary action and/or suspension and revocation of the license by the director of the department of health.”
Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said: “No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy.
“Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences.
“It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Legislature for protecting the state’s LGBTQ youth.”
Progress on the issue continues to be stalled in Republican-majority states
At the federal level, Senate Democrats recently re-introduced a bill which would federally ban the practice of gay ‘conversion’ therapy.
Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Cory Booker of New Jersey re-introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to Congress, but the law has been opposed by Republicans.
The GOP’s 2016 national party platform included support for conversion therapy, to much outrage from LGBT groups.
It said: “We support the right of parents to determine the proper treatment or therapy, for their minor children.”