WASHINGTON — The D.C. Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill to prohibit LGBT youth from undergoing gay-to-straight conversion therapy.
When signed into law, the District of Columbia will become the third jurisdiction — behind California and New Jersey — to pass legislation protecting LGBT youth from practices that have been determined to cause severe depression and even suicide.
Council member Mary M. Cheh introduced the measure last month, saying the therapies are without scientific merit and can be damaging to children.
The bill would bar D.C.-licensed mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with patients under the age of 18. The legislation would deem providing such therapy unacceptable and trigger disciplinary action from the provider’s licensing board.
“Today, the DC Council sent a powerful message to LGBT youth and their families that they are accepted, supported, and loved,” said Samantha Ames, NCLR staff attorney and coordinator of the #BornPerfect campaign at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“The Council has used its authority to protect our most vulnerable youth from dangerous and discredited pseudoscience that tells them who they are is wrong, and reaffirmed the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that all children are born perfect, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Ames.