DENVER — With a unanimous City Council vote Monday night, Denver became Colorado’s first jurisdiction to ban use of conversion therapy to try to change the sexual orientation of minors, governing.com reports.
Psychology’s governing bodies have denounced conversion therapy, which treats being LGBT as a mental illness. Research shows such therapy increases the risk of suicide, drug abuse and depression among teens.
“Tonight’s vote to ban conversion therapy is our city coming together and saying with one voice that we will never allow our LGBTQ-plus youth to be the targets of these dubious practices, and that we are here to support them,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said in a statement, according to governing.com. “Who they are is something to be celebrated, not maligned, and Denver will always be there to lift up our youth and ensure that they have the opportunity to grow up safe, happy and healthy.”
Hancock called passage of the proposal “a very proud moment” and thanked council members for their votes. The ban was recommended by Denver’s LGTBQ Commission and submitted by the Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships, governing.com reports.
The ban “will protect LGBTQ-plus youth from dangerous and discredited practices aimed at changing their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” a city news release says. “This proposal is aimed at state-licensed therapists, operating their practice in the city, who are falsely claiming that being gay or transgender is a mental illness, and therefore taking advantage of parents and harming vulnerable youth.”
Democratic legislators, who now control both chambers of the state General Assembly, said they’ll try to ban conversion therapy in this legislative session, reports coloradopolitics.com.
House Democrats sent such a bill last year to the Republican-held Senate, where it was struck down for the fourth year in a row.