May 10, 2017

Bye Leads Unanimous and Bipartisan Senate Passage of Bill to Prevent Practice of Discredited ‘Conversion Therapy’ in Connecticut

Photo of Governor Malloy signing the conversion therapy bill.

Governor Dannel Malloy signs House Bill 6695 into law minutes after it was passed in the State Senate as legislators and advocates look on.

Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) today helped lead the overwhelming and bipartisan passage in the state Senate of a bill that would prohibit the practice of “conversion therapy” in Connecticut, a discredited practice in which a health care provider attempts to counsel and change a minor’s sexual orientation.

The bill passed the Senate today on a 36-0 bipartisan and unanimous vote after passing the state House of Representatives last week on a bipartisan and overwhelming 141-8 vote. The bill was immediately transmitted this afternoon to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who signed the bill into law at his Capitol desk. The measure takes effect immediately.

“At its most basic level this bill helps support the emotional and physical health of young people who are going through a very difficult time in their lives, discovering their sexuality and coming to terms with that in a society which—even in 2017—is not always as accepting as it should be of America’s LBGTQ citizens. So it holds licensed professionals and others to a very high standard of behavior,” said Sen. Bye, a co-sponsor of the bill who led the Senate debate on the issue. “I think more importantly, this bill sends the message that homosexuality is not wrong, there is nothing to ‘fix.’ Hundreds of professional medical organizations have determined that, and our U.S. Supreme Court even ruled last week that there is no religious grounds for conversion therapy. So today was a big step forward for Connecticut in the arena of civil rights, and I am thankful to my Democratic and Republican colleagues for their overwhelming support of this bill. I think young people should take some comfort in the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, people who are sometimes on the opposite sides of an issue, joined together today to support this bill and to support the teenagers who we seek to serve.”

“That this bill has moved so quickly through both the House and the Senate, and received such strong bipartisan support, sends a strong message that Connecticut supports LGBTQ youth,” said Rep. Jeff Currey (D-East Hartford), a co-sponsor of the bill with Sen. Bye. “I’m proud to have worked alongside Senator Bye to make our state a safer, more accepting place for all young people who fear they may be treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

House Bill 6695 prohibits health care providers or anyone “conducting trade or commerce” in Connecticut from practicing or administering “conversion therapy,” which is generally defined as any practice or treatment that seeks to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill specifies certain types of counseling that are not considered conversion therapy, such as counseling that is intended to assist a person undergoing gender transition.

Under the bill, if any health care provider in Connecticut did engage in conversion therapy, it would be considered unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action. If anyone practiced conversion therapy while conducting trade or commerce, it would be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice. The bill also prohibits public funds from being spent on conversion therapy or any related actions.