Hawaii has become the twelfth state to pass a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy for minors.
On April 27, a conference committee cleared the way for the bill to be sent to Democratic Governor David Ige, who is expected to sign SB 270 into law.
Earlier this month, the state’s House of Representatives passed the bill, which bans efforts to “engage in or attempt to engage in sexual orientation change efforts on a person under eight years of age.”
It sailed through the Democrat-dominated legislature with just two votes against, from Republican leaders Gene Ward and Bob McDermott.
The lone vote against belonged to Democratic Senator Mike Gabbard, the head of the so-called Alliance for Traditional Marriage and Values, who previously waged a campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the state.
Performing gay cure therapy on minors is already is illegal in 11 US states and counting, as well as Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces and the Australian state of Victoria.
Michael Golojuch, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s LGBT Caucus, said: “This has been a priority of the caucus for years,” according to NewNowNext.
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He added that the bill “ensures that LGBTQ youth will not be tortured by mental health professionals.”
Lt. Gov. Doug Chin, who is running for Congress, supported the bill “based upon my firmly held belief that no-one should ever be made to feel there is something ‘wrong’ with them because of who they love or how they identify.”
The bill states: “The American Psychological Association convened a task force on appropriate therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.
“The task force conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal literature on sexual orientation change efforts. The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are unlikely to be successful and involve risk of harm to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals, including depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviours.
“The legislature further finds that children and adolescents who participate in these types of sexual orientation change efforts, which often use fear-based techniques, are given inaccurate scientific information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and are also at risk of increased self-stigma and psychological distress.”
It adds: “The legislature additionally finds that sexual orientation change efforts are opposed by the country’s leading medical and mental health professional organisations, including the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“The purpose of this Act is to protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts by regulating the conduct of specific state-licensed persons who provide professional counselling to minors under the age of eighteen and prohibiting these professionals from engaging in, attempting to engage in, or advertising the offering of sexual orientation change efforts on persons under eighteen years of age.”
Earlier this month, Maryland became the eleventh state to pass a ban on the practice, sending a bill to the state’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan, whose office indicated he would sign it.