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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Osten Joins Unanimous and Bipartisan Senate Passage of Bill to Prevent Practice of Discredited ‘Conversion Therapy’ In Connecticut

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) today joined the bipartisan and unanimous passage in the state Senate of a bill that prohibits the practice of “conversion therapy” in Connecticut, a discredited practice in which a health care provider attempts to counsel and change a minor’s sexual orientation.

The bill passed the Senate on a 36-0 bipartisan and unanimous vote after passing the state House of Representatives last week on a bipartisan and overwhelming 141-8 vote. The bill was immediately transmitted today to Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who signed the bill into law at his Capitol desk. The measure takes effect immediately.

“This whole practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ has been conclusively debunked by scientists as not really a therapy at all, and leading to more harm than help,” Sen. Osten said. “It’s good for Connecticut to outlaw this practice not only on the basis that it’s a sham health care service, but also because of the negative message it sends to gay and lesbian teenagers, that somehow their sexuality is not normal and needs to be corrected. I mean, it’s 2017; it’s outrageous that something like conversion therapy is even going on and that we have to make public policy to prohibit something like that.”

House Bill 6695 prohibits health care providers or anyone “conducting trade or commerce” in Connecticut from practicing or administering “conversion therapy,” which is generally defined as any practice or treatment that seeks to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill specifies certain types of counseling that are not considered conversion therapy, such as counseling that is intended to assist a person undergoing gender transition.

Under the bill, if any health care provider in Connecticut did engage in conversion therapy, it would be considered unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action. If anyone practiced conversion therapy while conducting trade or commerce, it would be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice. The bill also prohibits public funds from being spent on conversion therapy or any related actions.

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