NPR Story
9:08 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Washington Lawmakers Consider Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy

Mental health experts say it’s dangerous. Now, Washington lawmakers are taking up the controversy over gay conversion therapy.

That was the subject of a hearing Wednesday in Olympia. Psychologists and gay rights advocates testified in favor of a ban on therapies designed to convert patients younger than 18 away from being gay.

The limit would apply to all health care providers in Washington.

Reverend Manny Santiago testified that he experienced trauma from conversion therapy.

“Knowing that I could not change who I was, many times I thought of ending my life while I was being submitted to the pain of these methods of reparative therapy," he said. "These methods left me with deep wounds that are still heeling.”

Opponents of the bill argued a state ban on this form of counseling would limit the treatment options for gay youth and their parents.

The measure would not restrict effective alternative therapies geared toward helping kids who struggle with their sexual orientation.

Washington would be the third state to ban this form of therapy, following California and New Jersey.

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