Washington State has become the tenth in the United States to ban gay-conversion therapy. Washington Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign SB 5722 into law, which will protect LGBTQ youths from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Previously passed by both chambers, today the Washington State Senate concurred with amendments that had been added by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The measure now heads to the governor’s desk and could be one of the first pro-equality bills to be enacted this year.
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.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, and Arizona.