COLORADO- A bill banning conversion therapy for minor in Colorado passed a Senate committee Monday, after five attempts.
In the past, the bill hasn’t made it past a Senate committee.
The bill, which would ban the practice for anyone under the age of 18 now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
For people like Owen Ziegler, the bill is something that could save lives.
Ziegler, a transgender man says he was lucky to have the support of family as he was figuring out his sexual and gender identity.
However, in seeking therapy, he had experiences where he didn’t feel like he was in a place where he could be vulnerable.
‘It was like I’m in a setting where people are supposed to be making me better and they’re telling me that how I am is wrong and bad and scary,’ said Ziegler.
Opponents of the bill say it violates parental and constitutional rights.
In a Senate hearing Monday afternoon, opponents expressed concern over language in the bill- some people arguing it doesn’t give enough specificity to what the harmful practices are.
‘Someone could say ‘that’s not what I was trying to do’,’ said Brad Bergford with the state chapter of the National Lawyers Association.
”There’s real therapy that can help you, this type of practice is dangerous and this type of practice does harm and not good,’ said Representative Daneya Esgar (D- Pueblo) an openly lesbian lawmaker who says she sought her own therapy.
The bill would not prevent adults from seeking conversion therapy, and there is a religious exemption in statute.
‘If you are a preacher you can still talk to your congregation, that’s free speech we haven’t touched that, but if you are a preacher who’s also a licensed therapist, and you put on that licensed therapist, then that’s when you can no longer do this,’ said Esgar.