COLORADO – State lawmakers are moving forward with the latest attempt to ban gay conversion therapy for minors.
The practice involves trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity based on the idea that being LGBTQ is a mental illness. The American Psychiatric Association has denounced that belief.
House Bill 19-1129 passed its first test in a House committee on Wednesday and now heads to the full House for consideration.
It calls for disciplinary action by licensing boards for any licensed physician specializing in psychiatry or a licensed, certified, or registered mental health care provider. There is also provision to make “the advertising or practice of conversion therapy by a physician or mental health care provider” a deceptive trade practice.
The bill specifically lays out practices that provide assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or practices of “acceptance, support, and understanding” for an individual are not considered as conversion therapy “as long as the counseling does not seek to change sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D-Adams), and Sen. Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder).
Supporters would need to see the bill pass in the full House before it moves to a Senate committee, the full Senate and then to Governor Polis for his signature.
Previous efforts to pass this measure failed in 2016, 2017, and 2018. In January, Denver City Council approved the ban on such practices, becoming the first jurisdiction in the state to do so.