Vermont Bans Harmful Anti-LGBT Conversion Therapy

"No young person should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited practice."

Yesterday, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed Senate Bill 132 into law, which seeks to protect LGBT youth from the dangers of conversion therapy.

The measure was first approved by the state's Senate and House of Representatives in April before being signed into law by Gov. Shumlin Wednesday. After signing the bill, the governor announced its passing on the statehouse steps, calling the practice of conversion therapy "archaic" and "wrong."

The bill itself effectively bans mental health providers from attempting to change the sexual orientations or gender identities of their patients, which many studies show can lead to substance abuse, extreme depression and even suicide.

Many have come out in support of the legislation, with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin commenting, “No young person should be subjected to this extremely harmful and discredited practice, which medical professionals agree not only doesn't work, but can also have life-threatening consequences...We thank Governor Shumlin and the Vermont State Legislature for prioritizing the well-being and safety of our nation's youth."

Carolyn Reyes, Youth Policy Counsel for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, worked closely with Shumlin and state legislators to ensure the passing of the bill.

"Vermont children can now rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot be forced or coerced to undergo dangerous and discredited treatments to try to change who they are," she said in a statement.

With the passing of the law, which will go into full effect July 1, Vermont becomes the eighth jurisdiction to ban conversion therapy, joining California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C., and Cincinnati.