Colorado is the latest state to move to ban gay conversion therapy for minors, aligning Colorado’s policies with the consensus among leading medical and mental health professional organizations.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the first US governor to identify as gay, signed a bill Friday that prohibits health care professionals from engaging in conversion therapy for patients under the age of 18.
“Colorado has joined a growing list of states that have banned so-called conversion therapy,” Polis said in a statement posted to his social media. “It’s a tortuous practice that has long been widely-discredited by medical and mental health professionals.”
So-called conversion therapies, also known as reparative treatments, rely on the assumption that sexual orientation can be changed or “cured” — an idea debunked and discredited by major medical associations in the UK, the United States and elsewhere.
Studies have found that efforts to change a young person’s sexuality can put them at a greater risk of depression or suicide. Despite being condemned by medical bodies and having its science debunked by experts worldwide, the practice is legal throughout most of Europe, where campaigns and petitions to halt it exist in several countries.
Colorado is one of 39 states to have either introduced or passed legislation banning the practice, according to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that works on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.
About 698,000 LGBT adults in the US have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, according to a 2018 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.