February 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Conversion therapy bill advances in Washington
Richard DeBolt, Republican Party, Chehalis, Washington, gay news, Washington Blade, conversion therapy bill

State Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis) said all youth should be protected. (Photo public domain)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill intended to prevent health care providers from trying to convert gay people under age 18 passed the Washington state House last week, the Associated Press reports.

House Bill 2451, which passed on a 94-4 vote, would make it an act of unprofessional conduct to try to change the sexual orientation of a patient under 18. That would include efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex.

Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis) said regardless of personal beliefs, all youth should be protected.

“As a Christian person, I can’t stand by and watch someone be put through a tortuous practice to change a behavior,” the AP quoted him as saying.

The measure would fall under the Uniform Disciplinary Act, which includes acts of unprofessional conduct such as negligence, dishonesty, misuse of drugs or alcohol and betrayal of practitioner-patient privilege, the AP reports. Disciplinary authorities could sanction a health-care provider found to be engaging in gay conversion efforts. Sanctions could range from a fine to probation to mandatory remedial education to license revocation.

The bill now heads to the Senate, the AP reports.

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