The New York State Legislature voted to ban so-called gay conversion therapy on minors, with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo expected to sign the bill as soon as this week.
The measure, which passed 57-4 in the Senate and 134 to 3 in the Assembly, will make New York the 15th state to ban the controversial practice, which is widely discredited by medical and mental health organizations.
“New York has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth,” the bill reads in part, “and in protecting its minors against exposure to serious harms caused by sexual orientation change efforts.”
The ban is part of a larger LGBT rights push announced by Cuomo last year, an agenda that includes prohibiting the so-called gay panic defense in court and adding gender identity to state human rights and hate crime laws.
The Assembly had passed the bill 11 times, but the Senate’s Republican Majority refused to let the bill have a floor vote. But the GOP finally ceded its majority in the midterm election, paving the way for the victory, protecting the rights of New Yorkers regardless of gender identity or expression.
Democrat Brad Hoylman, who authored the Senate bill, called conversion therapy among the worst frauds in history.
Hoylman said: “We have to consider the message we are sending to LGBT youth today.That we have your back and you are perfect just the way you are." And he added: "The State of New York has a responsibility to stop licensed mental health professionals from causing irreparable damage to LGBT youth and their families.”
Democrat Brad Hoylman authored the Senate bill