Washington governor signs ban on sexual-orientation conversion therapy

By Rachel La Corte

OLYMPIA — A measure banning licensed therapists from trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity was signed into law Wednesday by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee signed the bill joined by lawmakers and other LGBT supporters, including Democratic Sen. Marko Liias, the bill’s sponsor, and Chad Griffin, the president of the D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.

Inslee called conversion therapy abuse, and said that “we are today prohibiting the abuse of our children.”

“We have always believed in civil rights in our state,” he said. “We believe in tolerance for all.”

The new law, which takes effect in June, will deem it “unprofessional conduct” for a licensed health-care provider to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18. Under the measure, if the provider violates the law, he or she faces sanctions ranging from fines to license revocation or suspension. The measure does not apply to nonlicensed counselors operating as part of a religious organization, religious denomination or church.

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