The bill would classify attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation as “unprofessional conduct” for health care providers.
“Our educated, knowledgeable, experienced professionals have told us, this is a step in protecting kids in Washington,” Carey Morris of Equal Rights Washington said in her testimony before the senate. “And I think it’s a really important step, they’re listening. And we can say we hear you, we see you, we think you’re worthy. And more importantly we shouldn’t have regrets because we know this is the right thing to do.”
Senate Democrats have wanted to pass the bill for years, but have been unable to do so because of the Republican leadership.
But elections in November, 2017, gave Democrats control of the state senate. The measure passed 32-16, with six Republicans crossing party lines and voting in favor of it.
“Therapists who engage in these discredited treatments put young people at risk of serious harms including suicide, depression, and substance abuse,” said Carolyn Reyes of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Washington families and children deserve better.”
The bill now goes to the state house, where it’s expected to pass. Democrats have a 50-48 majority there.
If it becomes law, Washington will join ten other states and the District of Columbia in banning conversion therapy for minors.