New York To Become 15th US State To Ban ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’

The New York State Legislature voted Tuesday to ban gay conversion therapy on minors, sending the bill to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk who is expected to sign it into law as soon as this week.

The measure, which passed 57-4 in the Senate and 134 to 3 in the Assembly, will make New York the 15th state to ban practice which has been widely discredited and condemned by medical and mental health organizations. The so-called conversion therapy seeks to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, conversion therapy “can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.” Techniques used to attempt to change sexual orientation and gender identity have included inducing nausea and vomiting, providing electric shocks, psychotropic medication and hypnosis.

According to a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association, the treatment has been associated with depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, high-risk sexual behaviors, homelessness and other issues.

“New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth,” the bill reads in part, “and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”

Cuomo announced last year a broad LGBTQ rights agenda to prohibit the so-called gay panic defense in court and adding gender identity to state human rights and hate crime laws.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act passed the Legislature on Tuesday as well.

NBC News adds:

Bans on conversion therapy have repeatedly passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly, only to die in the Republican-dominated Senate. But the GOP ceded its majority in the midterm election, paving the way for today’s victory.

Democrat Brad Hoylman, who authored the Senate bill, called conversion therapy “among the worst frauds in history.”

“We have to consider the message we are sending to LGBT youth today,” Hoylman said Monday after the bill passed committee. “That we have your back and you are perfect just the way you are.”“The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families,” Hoylman said when advocating for the ban in 2014.

Mathew Shurka, a member of the anti-conversion therapy group Born Perfect, told NBC News he ”feel[s] safer” after the bill’s passage, but he stressed that the fight against the discredited practice is still “not over.”

“The next step is testing the law,” he said, “because there are several working conversion therapy practitioners in New York State.”