May 10, 2017
Update: Governor Malloy has signed An Act Concerning The Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy into law!
This legislation will make Connecticut a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ youth.
The Senate voted today to pass HB 6695, AAC The Protection of Youth from Conversion Therapy by a unanimous bipartisan vote of 36-0. Sponsored by Senator Beth Bye and Representative Jeff Currey, the bill has 100 co-sponsors and was approved in the House by an overwhelming margin last week.
“We are delighted with today’s vote, and grateful that the Senate, with strong support on both sides of the aisle, moved so quickly to protect Connecticut youth from the devastating consequences of so-called conversion therapy,” said Jennifer L. Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “This legislation will make Connecticut a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ youth.”
State and national medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations all oppose the practice of conversion therapy, a practice which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Extensive professional literature shows the practice to be both ineffective in changing sexual orientation or gender identity and harmful to youth. Young people who have been subjected to conversion therapy are at increased risk of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, and illegal drug use.
Under the bill’s provisions, any licensed health professional who practices conversion therapy would be subject to discipline by the Department of Public Health up to and including the loss of their professional license.
“We have a responsibility to create a climate of support for all youth in our state, to let them know they are loved and valued just as they are,” said Anne Stanback of the Connecticut Equality coalition. “We thank Senator Beth Bye and Representative Jeff Currey for their leadership, and the bill’s many sponsors and supporters in both the House and Senate for stepping up to support and affirm LGBTQ youth.”
David McGuire, Executive Director of the ACLU of Connecticut: “LGBTQ youth need and deserve safety and acceptance, not state-sanctioned shame and harm. With this bill’s passage, the legislature has sent a strong message that Connecticut stands with LGBTQ youth, and that our state will not condone discrimination. At a time when many LGBTQ children are worried about the future, Connecticut has shown that people of all political stripes can and will come together to affirm their dignity and human rights.”
“We are absolutely thrilled that people in Connecticut will no longer be at risk for undergoing this traumatizing experience,” said Gretchen Raffa, Director of Public Policy of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “We are grateful this fraudulent, harmful practice will be banned from our state. As the region’s leading health care provider, we know that all people deserve high-quality health care services and information that are free of shame and judgment – no matter what.”
Governor Dannel Malloy signed the bill immediately after the Senate vote. Connecticut joins California, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington DC in banning the harmful and discredited practice.