May 25, 2018 at 9:15 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Hawaii governor signs bill banning conversion therapy for minors

Hawaii, conversion therapy, gay news, Washington Blade

Hawaii is the latest state to ban so-called conversion therapy for minors after Gov. David Ige on May 25, 2018, signed a bill the State Legislature approved. (Photo by Xpixupload; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Friday signed into law a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

“Sexual orientation is not an illness to be ‘cured’ — we accept you just the way you are,” said Ige in a tweet that included a picture of him signing the bill.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement praised Ige.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is a dangerous and ​inhumane form of child abuse that has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare ​organization,” said Griffin. “We thank the many advocates, allies, parents and survivors who spoke out against this abusive practice and urged their elected officials to adopt these crucial protections.”

Mathew Shurka — a gay man with the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Born Perfect campaign who underwent conversion therapy when he was 20-years-old — is among those who testified in support of the bill in the Hawaii State Legislature. Shurka on Friday in a statement said he “could not be happier that Hawaii has taken this important step to protect the health and safety of its LGBTQ youth from this terrible practice.”

Ige signed the bill 10 days after Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan enacted a bill that bans conversion therapy for minors in his state.

D.C., Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington also ban conversion therapy for minors.

A bill that would ban the widely discredited practice for minors in New Hampshire is currently awaiting Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature. The California Assembly last month approved a bill that would classify conversion therapy as a fraudulent business practice in the state.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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