Vermont Becomes 5th State to Ban Gay-Conversion Therapy

Peter Shumlin Governor of Vermont
Governor Peter Shumlin. Image via Erika J Mitchell

Vermont has become the latest state to ban the antiquated practice of gay-conversion therapy. The New England state has become just the fifth state in the country to prohibit a practice that has been scientifically proven to do more harm than good.

Below is a statement from Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin:

At a time when some states are working to erode hard-fought advances in civil rights for the LGBT community, Gov. Peter Shumlin today signed a law to advance them in Vermont by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. The new law bans the practice of seeking to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity in the State of Vermont.

“It’s absurd to think that being gay or transgender is something to be cured of,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Our country has come a long way in a short period of time in recognizing the civil rights of members of the LGBT community, and I am so proud that Vermont has taken a leadership role at every step of the way. At a time when the rights of LGBT individuals are under attack in other parts of the country, Vermont will continue to stand up to hatred and bigotry and show the rest of the country what tolerance, understanding, and common humanity look like.”

Conversion therapy has been widely discredited by the scientific community. A 2015 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) “found that variations in sexual orientation and gender identity are normal, and that conversion therapies or other efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity are not effective, are harmful, and are not appropriate therapeutic practices.”

Vermont joins California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. in enacting a law to ban conversion therapy. Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced regulations to ban public and private insurers from covering the practice.

The ban on conversion therapy takes effect July 1, 2016.

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