Metro Weekly

Virginia Senate passes House’s version of bill banning conversion therapy

Measure billed as protecting LGBTQ minors moves one step closer to being signed into law

conversion therapy
Virginia State Capitol — Photo: Skip Plitt/Wikimedia Commons.

On Monday, the Virginia Senate passed a bill to ban conversion therapy that had previously passed the House of Delegates, moving a statewide ban one step closer to becoming official law in the commonwealth.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), prohibits licensed health care providers from attempting to subject people under the age of 18 to efforts to attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The bill defines conversion therapy as “unprofessional conduct,” consistent with guidelines set forth by several counseling and mental health licensing boards last year, and prohibits insurance coverage from being used to pay for conversion therapy.

The bill passed the Senate on a largely party-line vote, 22-18, with only one Republican, Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Upperville) voting in favor.

It previously passed the House of Delegates earlier this month with the support of 11 Republicans in addition to the full Democratic House Caucus. 

The bill will now head to the desk of Gov. Ralph Northam, an LGBTQ ally, who has already promised to sign it into law.

Once signed, Virginia will become the 20th state in the nation to ban the practice on minors.

Several other states, including Kentucky, Iowa, and Oklahoma, are currently considering their own legislation to stop the practice.

North Carolina does not have a ban in place, but Gov. Roy Cooper (D) signed an executive order prohibiting taxpayer dollars from being used to reimburse therapists who subject minors to the therapy.

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