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State Senator

Marilyn Moore

Representing Bridgeport, Monroe & Trumbull

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Moore Applauds Passage of Bill Protecting LGBTQ Youth from Harmful Conversion Therapy Practices

Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) Wednesday celebrated the unanimous bipartisan passage of a bill that protects LGBTQ youth in Connecticut from the discredited practice of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is either psychological or spiritual counseling designed to change a person’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual. House Bill 6695 bans health care providers from practicing conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 18. Violations would be punishable by suspension or revocation of the professional’s license, certification or registration to practice.

“Connecticut is a state that welcomes and embraces people of all sexual orientations and we pride ourselves on a long history of supporting equality for members of the LGBTQ community. Sexual orientation is not an illness and should never be treated as such,” said Sen. Moore, a member of the Public Health Committee. “I applaud my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle for standing up for LGBTQ youth today and passing this bill. It’s always a great day at the Capitol when we can come together to achieve something that moves us toward being a more inclusive state where all people are treated as equals.”

Moore first voted in favor of the bill when it passed unanimously in the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee on March 24.

The bill provides that:

  • Engaging in conversion therapy is an unfair trade practice.
  • If a health care provider engages in such therapy, it is considered unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action.
  • Prohibits public funds from being spent for conversion therapy, insurance coverage for such therapy or related actions.

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services agrees there is no evidence that supports the effectiveness of conversion therapy. However, there is evidence that conversion therapy causes depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) opposes psychiatric treatment based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that a patient should change his/her sexual orientation.

The APA describes attempts to change sexual orientation by practitioners as unethical. There is no evidence that conversion therapy can alter sexual orientation and, in fact, the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry and the National Association of Social Workers have also taken the position that this form of “therapy” is not only ineffective, it is ill-advised as it may cause depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. The DMHAS service system offers mental health treatment supported by informed standards of care and best practices for adults 18 and older. DMHAS also supports evidence-based mental health promotion programming across a person’s lifespan. DMHAS supports the position of the APA that conversion therapy has no place in the clinical relationship between therapists and patients.

This bill, which prohibits health care providers or anyone else engaged in trade or commerce from providing conversion therapy, is not anticipated to result in a fiscal impact to the state or municipalities. It is expected that there will be few to no violations of this prohibition and that the Departments of Public Health and Consumer Protection will not generate revenue through the imposition of fines on violators.

The bill, which passed in the House of Representatives on May 2 on a vote of 141 to eight, goes next to the desk of Governor Dannel Malloy who has pledged to sign the legislation into law.

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