Legislation banning conversion therapy has passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives and is its on way to the state’s Senate.
Bill H.4664, which passed overwhelmingly Wednesday, would ban conversion therapy for minors.
Massachusetts Representative Kay Khan, a Democrat from Newton, filed the original bill, described the trauma inflicted by the practice, the Associated Press reports.
“There’s a broad consensus in the medical community that attempts to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity through conversion therapy are unnecessary, ineffective and harmful,” Khan said.
The Massachusetts Family Institute opposed the bill, but the Democratic House speaker praised the 137-14 vote.
“This practice has no scientific basis, is rooted in bigotry and can have lasting, detrimental health effects,” Rep. Robert DeLeo said. “In short, there is no place for this cruel activity in Massachusetts.”
Thirteen states have passed similar laws. The most recent Hawaii in late May.
The American Psychological Association once diagnosed LGBTQ people as mentally ill, and early gay activists lobbied the organization in the 1960s and ’70s to reverse the harmful practice. Today, the APA, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics now condemn gay-conversion therapy as dangerous.
The Movement Advancement Project reports that 68 percent of Americans live in jurisdictions banning the practice. Among the state’s banning conversion therapy are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.
New York has no legislative ban, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced regulations for healthcare insurers to restrict the practice in February 2016.
Beyond those states, 34 cities and a number of counties have also banned the practice.