Rep. Paul Rosenthal, D-Denver, says "We have a responsibility to protect Colorado children from the harmful and discredited practice of gay conversion therapy."
Due to Vice President Mike Pence’s support of groups that practice conversion therapy — which attempts to convert LGBTQ people through practices that have been deemed harmful by multiple mental health associations — the topic has begun receiving some more attention.
As we reported in Queer & There
, conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy, is still legal in 45 states, and Colorado is one of them. However, the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee has once again moved a bill to ban the practice (introduced by Rep. Paul Rosenthal).
That means that our state representatives will soon vote on HB 1156, which would prohibit registered mental health professionals from recommending or performing conversion therapy for patients younger than 18 years old.
Basically, the bill ensures that parents of LGBTQ youth will no longer be able to force their children into physician-practiced conversion therapy in order to change their identity.
One Colorado, the state’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, expressed support for this bill, saying, “We can not allow one more young person to be targeted and hurt by these dangerous and discredited practices and are hopeful House Bill 1156 will continue to progress through the legislature with bi-partisan support, as it has the last two years.”
Unfortunately, the hopes for bi-partisan support may be unfounded, as all six Republican members of the committee voted against the bill. It is possible that the House of Representatives as a whole will be less divided, but this is the third bill of its kind in three years to come to a vote, and each time it has floundered. But since the Republicans only have a one-seat majority on the floor, it isn't an impossible feat.
At this point, HB 1156 has only jumped the first hurdle, so it remains to be scene how the rest of the race will go.
One Colorado encourages supporters to contact their representatives
before the bill comes up for vote, saying “It's time for Colorado to send a message that we support LGBTQ young people and don't want this happening in our state.”