May 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Vermont governor signs conversion therapy ban

Vermont State House, gay news, Washington Blade

(Photo by Jonathanking; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday signed a bill that bans so-called conversion therapy to minors.

Lawmakers in the Green Mountain State approved Senate Bill 132 last month. The measure will take effect on July 1.

“It’s absurd to think that being gay or transgender is something to be cured of,” said Shumlin in a statement. “Our country has come a long way in a short period of time in recognizing the civil rights of members of the LGBT community, and I am so proud that Vermont has taken a leadership role at every step of the way. At a time when the rights of LGBT individuals are under attack in other parts of the country, Vermont will continue to stand up to hatred and bigotry and show the rest of the country what tolerance, understanding, and common humanity look like.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin and Carolyn Reyes of the National Center for Lesbian Rights are among those who applauded Shumlin.

“No young person should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited practice, which medical professionals agree not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences,” said Griffin in a statement. “It is nothing short of child abuse.”

“We thank Governor Shumlin and the Vermont State Legislature for prioritizing the well-being and safety of our nation’s youth, and remain committed to working with partners to ensure that this quackery is banned from coast to coast,” he added.

D.C., California, Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon currently ban conversion therapy to minors.

The New Hampshire Senate earlier this month approved a measure that would ban the practice in the Granite State.

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

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