Nearly 40 states, 24 over the last year, have filed similar bills in an effort to eradicate the highly controversial form of “therapy,” which endeavors to force an individual to change their secual orientation or gender identiy.
With a vote of 72-53, Minnesota lawmakers passed the measure, protecting young adults under the age of 18 from health professionals offering conversion therapy. The bill was part of an umbrella legislation on health and human services programs.
From the state’s Democrat-controlled House, the bill will now move one to the Senate.
Some 698,000 LGBT adults living in the U.S. admit to receiving some form of conversion therapy during their lives. ‘Treatment’ can vary from a consultation on a couch to shock therapy to discourage same-sex relations.
The Trevor Project, a nonprofit pro-LGBT organization dedicated to suicide prevention in the community, said, “We at the Trevor Project hear from a survivor of conversion therapy every single week.
“They genuinely call us because they're in crisis. They're worried they're going to be put back in conversion therapy, that their friends have gone through this, that they're in crisis."
Mental health and medical professionals criticize the practice, citing the serious negative effects it has on a youth’s psyche. Some of these include depression, anxiety, and self destructive behavior.
On its webpage, the American Medical Association said, “"Underlying these techniques is the assumption that homosexuality and gender identity are mental disorders and that sexual orientation and gender identity can be changed.
“This assumption is not based on medical and scientific evidence," they said.
Last month, the U.S. territory, Puerto Rico outlawed gay-conversion therapy for minors. Eighteen states have significantly limited the practice; 21 have introduced legislation; while the cities of Atlanta, Columbia, Missouri, and Harrisburg have introduced their own legislation on a local level.