Washington State Officially Bans Conversion Therapy For Kids

"Children... deserve to live their lives authentically."

Washington State has officially outlawed conversion therapy for minors, making it the 10th state to ban the widely discredited practice.

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5722 into law today, making it a prosecutable offense for a licensed healthcare practitioner to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18. Those found guilty can face fines or have their license revoked.

The law won’t however, impact adults seeking the treatment.

“Today, Washington State takes a huge step forward in protecting LGBTQ children by banning this backwards practice, which not only puts the lives of LGBTQ children at risk, but has been rejected by the medical community time and again,” said Lucas Acosta, LGBT liaison for the Democratic National Committee.

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images

A similar measure cleared the Maryland Senate today, as well, and now goes before the House.

According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, 57,000 teens will undergo conversion therapy from clergy, religious counselors or other unlicensed persons before they turn 18.

HRC’s JoDee Winterhof said young people “deserve to live their lives authentically and should never be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery