Colorado state House passes bill to ban conversion therapy on minors


DENVER — A measure that would prohibit Colorado mental health professionals from practicing gay conversion therapy with minors has cleared the state House.

ColoradoThe proposal passed Tuesday on a 35-29 vote with one Republican, Rep. Daniel Thurlow of Grand Junction, joining every Democrat in the chamber who supported the bill.

The measure would forbid therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person under 18. Therapists who do not follow the rule would face disciplinary action from their licensing board.

The sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Paul Rosenthal, an openly gay lawmaker from Denver, said the goal is for therapists to help youth pursue acceptance and support for who they are.

Republicans worry that therapists could be punished for merely being perceived as trying to change someone’s sexual orientation.

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The bill will now be considered by the Senate, where its chances are less clear. That chamber is controlled by Republicans.

New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia all have passed similar legislation. The California and New Jersey legislation has been upheld by federal courts, and last year the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a challenge from opponents in California.

Lawmakers in Iowa and Oregon are also considering similar measures this session.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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