Today, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law, making Vermont the eighth jurisdiction—behind California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati—to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of “conversion therapy.”
Senate Bill 132, which protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide, was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. The law will go into effect July 1, 2016.
“We are thrilled that Vermont has joined the rapidly growing number of states leading the way to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Youth Policy Counsel Carolyn Reyes. “Vermont families can now have confidence that the mental health professional they turn to in times of uncertainty may not use their state license to profit from their children’s pain. Most importantly, Vermont children can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to try to change who they are. Today brings us one step closer to the day when all LGBTQ youth know they were born perfect.”
Said HRC President Chad Griffin: “No young person should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited practice, which medical professionals agree not only doesn't work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Shumlin and the Vermont State Legislature for prioritizing the well-being and safety of our nation's youth, and remain committed to working with our partners to ensure that this quackery is banned from coast to coast.”
NCLR, HRC, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, Pride Center Vermont, and Outright Vermont played a key role in organizing the coalition behind the bill. A broad range of groups supported Senate Bill 132, including national LGBTQ organizations and civil rights organizations.
NCLR and HRC are at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from “conversion therapy,” and work closely with legislators and state leaders across the country to introduce bills protecting youth from these dangerous practices.
In February, NCLR, HRC, and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a historic federal consumer fraud complaint against a major provider of “conversion therapy,” urging the Federal Trade Commission to take enforcement action against the organization and all practitioners engaging in similar fraudulent advertising and business practices.
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