The New Hampshire state legislature today (10 May) sent Governor Chris Sununu a bill protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.
As defined, HB 587, ‘prohibits persons licensed to provide counseling services to propose to engage or engage in conversion therapy with a person under 18 years of age’.
The state House of Representatives voted today to approve the bill, following the Senate’s approval vote.
The bill now heads to Governor Sununu’s desk. If he signs the bill, New Hampshire will become the the 12th state protecting youth from the harmful practice. Washington, D.C. also prohibits the practice.
Hawaii was the most recent state to ban conversion therapy on minors.
As more and more states adopt this ban, it is more likely it could become federal law and be outlawed once and for all in the United States.
A dangerous practice with no basis in science
Most medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and more, condemn the practice.
Conversion therapy is the practice attempting to change a person’s sexuality via psychological or spiritual means. It has no basis in evidential science.
As the APA explains, the risks of converstion therapy are ‘great’. They include depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, ‘since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient’.
‘Children across the Granite State deserve to live their lives authentically and should never be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy,’ said HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof.
‘This dangerous practice has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major medical and mental health organization in the country. We thank the state legislators who voted to protect LGBTQ youth. Governor Sununu now must sign this crucially important legislation.’
Important steps forward
Last week, New Hampshire’s legislature also approved a bill protecting transgender people from discrimination.
It is now up to their governor to sign both bills into law. Should he do so, New Hampshire will make important strides for LGBTQ rights.