Iowa Senate panel advances bill to ban conversion therapy on LGBT youth


DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa could become the third state in the nation to ban controversial conversion therapy techniques designed to change the sexual orientation of LGBT youth.

IowaA state Senate subcommittee advanced a bill Tuesday that would ban mental health practitioners from practicing conversion therapy on minors, reports The Des Moines Register.

The bill would prevent state-licensed mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with any patient under the age of 18. It also goes a step further by authorizing disciplinary action by the licensing and professional entities overseeing those providers.

Sen. Matt McCoy, an openly gay lawmaker who authored the legislation, said it’s best to consider it as a two-year effort. If the bill were able to clear the Senate by the end of the session, he said, supporters could take the summer to work on the Republican-controlled House and possibly pass it next session.

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The practice has already been banned in California, New Jersey, and in the District of Columbia, and attempts to overturn the bans in federal courts have been unsuccessful.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused consider a challenge to California’s ban, and an anti-gay group is seeking a similar high court review of New Jersey’s ban.

And a judge in New Jersey ruled last week that claims by a gay conversion therapy group that describe homosexuality as a curable mental disorder constituted consumer fraud.

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