A controversial practice will remain legal in Colorado, at least for the foreseeable future. On March 23, The Senate Committee on State, Veteran, and Military Affairs voted 3-2 to indefinitely postpone a bill that deals with making conversion therapy illegal. This is the third time that the law has been pushed but failed.
The legislation, House Bill 17-1156, would have made it illegal for licensed doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists in the state to perform controversial “gay conversion” therapy on minors under the age of 18.
“Conversion therapy” is a form of psychotherapy that seeks to suppress and eliminate feelings of same-sex attraction; the ultimate goal is to convert the individual from a homosexual into a heterosexual. Currently conversion therapy is illegal to perform on minors in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
The defeat of the bill in committee saw anger form one side, and satisfaction from the other. LGBTQ advocacy organization One Colorado criticized the halt of the bill. Director Laura “Pinky” Reinsch issued a statement reading:
“Today, Republicans on the Senate State, Veteran Military Affairs Committee had yet another chance to do right by LGBTQ young people in our state. Instead – for the third year in a row – legislators have chosen politics over banning a harmful, discredited, and dangerous practice that attempts to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
On the other side, religious organization Colorado Family Action praised lawmakers for allowing minors the right to choose conversion therapy.
“The bill sought to use media hype and unfounded claims to silence all counseling that would help a child address unwanted same-sex feelings. Colorado Family Action does not condone any therapy that would harm a patient. We support ALL children having the right to seek help and not be denied access to the licensed therapy they seek to help them live their lives according to their sincerely held beliefs,” said the group in a statement.
The American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, along with the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office have all stated that there is no valid scientific evidence to support the practice of conversion therapy and the four organization oppose its practice.