Govs Get It Done: Gov. Northam Makes Virginia First Southern State to Ban Conversion Therapy
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam yesterday signed a bill banning conversion therapy in the state. The new law makes Virginia the 20th state in the nation and the first state in the South to ban the widely-discredited practice for minors.
“Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth. No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are — especially not a child. I’m proud to sign this ban into law,” said Gov. Northam in a statement.
Read more about the governor’s landmark bill signing:
Washington Post: Conversion therapy for minors to be banned in Virginia
Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday signed a bill banning conversion therapy for minors, the first LGBT rights measure to reach the Democrat’s desk this year.
Virginia will become the 20th state — and the first in the South — to outlaw the therapy, a widely discredited practice that purports to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Critics say it is traumatic for patients and has led to suicides.
“This issue is personal for me, as a pediatric neurologist who has cared for thousands of children,” Northam said in a statement. “Conversion therapy is not only based in discriminatory junk-science, it is dangerous and causes lasting harm to our youth. No one should be made to feel wrong for who they are — especially not a child. I’m proud to sign this ban into law.”
Many other landmark LGBT rights bills have also passed the House and Senate and are on their way to the governor this year, during the first session in a generation with Democrats in control of both legislative chambers.
Among the other bills is one that would make Virginia the first Southern state to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Conversion therapy for minors is already banned in the District and 19 states, including Maryland, according to the Movement Advancement Project, which tracks LGBT legislation.
The governor is likely to do a ceremonial signing of all LGBT rights bills sometime after the General Assembly gavels out of its 60-day session on Saturday.