The California State Senate has passed a bill declaring conversion therapy a ‘fraudulent practice’.
The Senate’s move makes it possible to bring legal proceedings against anyone who engages in conversion therapy for profit, which effectively bans the practice.
The bill passed in the Senate 25-11. It includes protections for those who have paid for conversion therapy, or who have been harmed by the practice.
They can now pursue legal action or recoup any investment they may have made, Metro Weekly reported.
Support for those in the LGBT community
Several amendments were added to the Californian bill which states that it is unlawful to advertise or sell services which could constitute conversion therapy for profit.
Also known as ‘gay treatment therapy’, conversion therapy has gained notoriety for the often brutal methods practitioners use while attempting to ‘cure’ LGBTI people of their sexual orientation.
‘We as legislators have a responsibility to protect Californians from harmful and deceptive practices,’ Assemblymember Evan Low, the chief sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
‘All Californians should be celebrated, cherished, and loved for who they are. I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for affirming their support for those in the LGBT community who need it most by voting for this bill,’ said Low.
Still legal in most US states
Moves to ban or heavily restrict the controversial practice of conversion therapy have gained traction over recent years.
However, the practice remains legal in the vast majority of states in the US.
A recent Williams Institute report found that only nine states and the District of Columbia have passed statutes that limit or ban the use of conversion therapy. Almost all of these states were located on the east and west coasts of America.
Last month, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill which would have prohibited people from practicing conversion therapy on youth.
LePage is the first governor in the US to block a bill prohibiting the practice.