Va. House passes bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

Virginia

Virginia State Capitol

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill to end conversion therapy for minors.

The practice to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender expression, which has been widely discredited, has been linked to suicide, drug use and homelessness in minors, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

HB 386, sponsored by Democrat Patrick Hope (Arlington County), would prohibit any health provider who performs counseling from engaging in conversion therapy.

Several Republican lawmakers gave their support to the bill, including Robert Bloxom (Eastern Shore), Barry Knight (Virginia Beach), Glenn Davis (Virginia Beach) and Keith Hodges (Gloucester, Mathews).

“Conversion therapy is evil and unscientific,” tweeted Democrat Mike Mullin (James City, York). “Thank god we’re now one step closer to banning this horrible practice.”

Virginia would become to the 20th state in the U.S. to ban the practice. Utah just passed its own ban in January to become the 19th state.

The legislation still awaits final approval by the Virginia Senate and Democratic Governor Ralph Northam. A Senate version of the bill, SB 245, was passed by a vote of 21 to 18 on January 22.

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