Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Hawaii Joins Growing Number Of States To Ban Conversion Therapy For Minors
Hawaii lawmakers on Friday gave final approval to a bill that bans therapies that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
Such therapies go by names such as “conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay therapy.
Both legislative chambers approved the bill, but amendments added in the House sent it to conference committee to be reconciled with the version approved last month in the Senate.
“This has been a priority of the caucus for years,” Representative Michael Golojuch, a Democrat and the chairman of the LGBT Caucus of Hawaii's Democratic Party, is quoted as saying by Hawaii News Now.
“This bill ensures that LGBTQ youth will not be tortured by mental health professionals,” Golojuch added.
Democratic Governor David Ige is expected to sign the bill into law.
After the bill cleared the House, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called on lawmakers not to water down the bill in conference committee.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing short of child abuse with life-threatening consequences for countless LGBTQ youth,” HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement. “It is time Hawaii join the growing number of states who are enacting laws to protect LGBTQ youth from this dangerous and discredited practice. We urge state legislators to swiftly advance SB 270 through conference committee with the strongest, timely protections intact and send it to Governor Ige’s desk.”
Similar legislation has been enacted in Maryland, Washington, Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.
An increasing number of local municipalities have also enacted similar protections, particularly in Florida. Late last month, Milwaukee became the first municipality in Wisconsin to enact such a ban.