Delaware has become the 15th state to ban the harmful practice of so-called “conversion” or “reparative” therapy.
On Monday, Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 65 which prohibits attempts to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors. The legislation considers conversion therapy “unprofessional conduct” for mental health and medical professionals. Any mental health professional caught practicing the 'therapy' on a minor will find themselves subject to discipline.
All Delawareans, including Delaware children, deserve to be respected for who they are, and I was proud to sign Senate Bill 65 into law today.
Discredited practices like conversion therapy have no place in Delaware. pic.twitter.com/ljacguEZfd
— Governor John Carney (@JohnCarneyDE) July 23, 2018
The new law also contains language preventing the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families from recommending “conversion therapy.”
During the legislation's journey to becoming law, state Rep. Richard Collins (R-Millsboro) introduced an amendment that would have allowed conversion therapy if a patient were to request it. The amendment, fortunately, gained no traction and was voted down.
The practice has been condemned by the American Medical Association, the American Pediatrics Association, the American Psychiatric Association and many others due to its disastrous effects which can lead to depression and, in some cases, suicide.
Delaware joins Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire – plus Washington, D.C. in enacting legislation to ban the widely discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy.
Additionally, over 30 cities and municipalities have banned the practice from being performed on minors.
See below a map from the Williams Institute showing where bans have been enacted as well as states with pending legislation.