D.C. mayor signs bill prohibiting conversion therapy for LGBT youth

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signs the bill outlawing gay-to-straight conversion therapy on LGBT youth. National Center for Lesbian Rights

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signs the bill outlawing gay-to-straight conversion therapy on LGBT youth.National Center for Lesbian Rights

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signs the bill outlawing gay-to-straight conversion therapy on LGBT youth.

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray on Monday signed a bill to prohibit LGBT youth from undergoing gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

D.C. becomes 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.

The new law prohibits D.C.-licensed mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with patients under the age of 18.

“This law ensures that mental health practitioners can no longer abuse their power to harm young people and families by propagating the dangerous lie that there is something wrong with being LGBT or that therapy can change their core sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Samantha Ames, a staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator.

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“By signing this bill into law, Mayor Gray has taken an important step to protect the health and safety of LGBT youth and to prevent unscrupulous therapists from preying on vulnerable families,” said Ames.

The measure, authored by D.C. council member Mary M. Cheh received unanimous approval by the council on Dec. 2.

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

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