A day before the Pride Month in June, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed a bill into law to ban the practice of gay conversion therapy for minors.
Polis, elected as the first U.S. openly gay governor last year, signed the legislation during an official ceremony at the Capitol on Friday. Speaking before the crowd outside the Capitol, Polis said he was proud to put an end to what he called a ''tortuous practice.''
As per the new legislation, mental health provider among which licensed physicians or those specializing in psychiatry would no longer be allowed to try to convince people under the age of 18 to change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
The bill also bans medical efforts to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic feelings toward somebody of the same sex.
What happens with medical professionals that refuse to comply with the new law? They could face disciplinary actions by licensing boards. In addition to that, they would no longer be allowed to advertise their practice under a consumer protection law.
The majority of mental health professionals has widely criticized the so-called conversion therapy. They seriously questioned its effectiveness. Furthermore, they also pointed out it often leads to psychological harms, including increased risk of suicide, depression, and drug use among adolescents
The Democrats in Colorado have made several unsuccessful attempts to ban the controversial practice in the recent years, but the Republicans who controlled the Senate had blocked them all. Last November, Democrats took over both chambers, retained the governor's seat, and put the issue on the table again. The bill passed with bipartisan support.
Rep. Colin Larson, R-Littleton, was one of the Republican lawmakers who voted to ban conversion therapy. The 32-year-old politician said that his party's divide over the bill was a ''generational issue.''
In addition to the conversion therapy ban, Polis also signed into law another related ban, to make it easier for transgender locals to amend their gender on their birth and identification documents. They will now be able to choose M, F, or X in requesting new identity documents without having a court order, a doctor's note or proof of surgery.
According to a 2018 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, nearly 698,000 LGBT young adults across the country have gone through conversion therapy at least once in their lives. Colorado is the 18th U.S. state to ban conversion therapy. Maine's governor signed a similar ban last week.
What do you think? Do you support or oppose the ban on conversion therapy for LGBT youth?