Nevada passed a ban on conversion therapy yesterday and today Nevada’s Governor signed that legislation. Conversion therapy is an attempt by “therapists” or religious leaders to change a person’s sexual orientation – although it does more damage than good.
Senate Bill 201, sponsored by Sen. David Parks, Las Vegas, would make it illegal for licensed mental health practitioners to provide therapy attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This puts Nevada on the list of progressive states that are passing laws to make the lives of LGBTQIA+ individuals better. Seven other states including Oregon, California, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy.
You may recall the story our board member, Curtis Galloway, who testified in support of the Illinois bill to ban conversion therapy. Curtis now lives and operates a chapter of One Million Kids in St. Louis, and provided comments on the subject.
“I think it’s fantastic that Nevada has chosen to protect LGBTQ youth from this harmful practice! More and more states are realising that this practice is ineffective and does more harm than good. And I hope that more states follow in this path. I know that what I went through was awful, but I also know that it gets much worse than what I experienced,” said Galloway.
Many states are currently attempting to ban conversion therapy including Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. However, some are worried that our current White House Administration may attempt to hinder the progress towards banning the practice in other States.
Curtis added, “I am very worried about the future of this movement. Vice President Pence has publicly come out in favor of conversion therapy. I remember rallying against him when he was Governor of Indiana, driving several hours, after he signed his religious freedom act. And now this same man is second in command of our country. It’s very worrying and unsettling,” Galloway said. He added, “One thing is certain though, the bans that are in place, at least in Illinois, cannot be touched by this administration.”
Laws in other States, and now Nevada, do have flaws. They all exempt religious organizations, only creating the ban for certified therapists and psychiatrists. This means that anyone who claims to be operating a conversion therapy like establishment or session under religious grounds are exempt.
“It is a huge exemption as many of these individuals are going to start using religion as means ‘to pass the baton’ to religious leaders,” Galloway said. “However, I am hopeful that with this law as a basis, even religious attempts to convert will be found to be child abuse.”