PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The House of Representatives has voted to pass a bill that would bar licensed health care providers from using so-called gay “conversion” therapy to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the Associated Press reports.
The House voted 69-0 to pass the bill Tuesday, May 30 with six legislators not voting. It now moves to the state Senate. Nevada and Connecticut this month became the latest to ban the practice, joining New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont and New Mexico.
At the committee hearing on the bill earlier this spring, testimony was overwhelmingly in favor of the bill. Nearly 90 people testified, many telling compelling, deeply personal stories of their experiences. Only one person testified against the bill, the AP reports.
Rhode Island’s proposal would prohibit psychologists, social workers and other licensed health care professionals from using practices that treat homosexuality as an illness and try to cure it in children under 18 years old. Violations could be subject to disciplinary action or revocation of licenses by the state department of health, the AP reports.
Numerous national and international medical associations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs, the American Psychoanalytic Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, have issued statements against or otherwise taken action against conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy is worse than ineffective; it can be extremely harmful, especially in children,” said Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence), the primary sponsor of the bill, according to the AP article.