Nevada has just become the eighth state to officially ban "conversion therapy," a harmful, discredited practice that purports to change a person's sexuality. According to the Associated Press, Nevada governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law on Wednesday that outlaws licensed therapists from attempting to "cure" someone's sexuality.
The law goes into effect next year, and will make it illegal for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and other clinical counselors in Nevada to attempt anti-gay conversion therapy on people under age 18.
"Nevada has a long record of passing progressive legislation to protect the LGBTQ community with bipartisan support, and I want to thank Governor Sandoval for signing this critical legislation to protect LGBTQ youth," David Parks, a Nevada senator who sponsored the bill, said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Banning conversion therapy makes Nevada a safer place for children who are at a higher risk for anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and even suicide," his statement read. "This bill is a major step forward in building a more equal and inclusive state."
It's important to note, however, that clergy members are exempt from the ban, according to the AP, and parents can still send children to religious-based therapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation.
However, Nevada now joins California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont in banning medical and mental health professionals from performing conversion therapy. Though conversion therapy has been discredited, it has yet to be outlawed nationwide. Last month, Democratic lawmakers reintroduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act to ban the practice across the U.S., though it remains to be seen whether or not that bill will pass.
"No child should be put through the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy," Chad Griffin, president of LGBTQ rights organization Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. "Medical professionals agree this outdated and discredited practice not only doesn’t work, but can also have life-threatening consequences. It is nothing short of child abuse. We thank Governor Sandoval and the Nevada State Legislature for passing these crucially important protections for the state’s LGBTQ youth."
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