Colorado House Committee Passes Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

March 1, 2017 Updated: Today at 5:59 am

This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, The Gazette


A Colorado House committee passed a ban Tuesday on gay conversion therapy practiced by a licensed mental health professional.

Sound familiar? That’s because a House committee has passed the bill three years in a row. The Democratic majority in the House moved the bill to the Republican-led Senate, and each of the last two years it has died there in committee.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Paul Rosenthal of Denver, had said before the session he would try again after two defeats. He holds out hope a Republican or two in the Senate will change his or her mind. The GOP has only a one-seat majority on the floor, 18-17, but the bill would first have to get out of a committee.

The bill passed the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee on a 7-6 party-line vote.

Rep. Joann Ginahl, D-Fort Collins, talked in the hearing about her own anguish in being a closeted gay young person. She was married for five years. Like Rosenthal, she is a member of the House LGBT Caucus.

“It’s an important bill,” she said. “We’ll keep bringing it back, and hopefully, someday, we will pass this bill.”

Opponents testified that the discussion should be between a parent and child, and the state should not interfere.

Five states and Washington, D.C., have banned the practice.

Esteban Lee O’Neil told the committee he went through conversion therapy as an adult.

“Conversion therapy is not where they try and turn heterosexuals into homosexuals,” he said. “Conversion therapy is where they try and turn homosexuals into heterosexuals, and neither can be done.”

He said his Mormon faith had led him to believe homosexuality was a sin on the level of murder.

“I was desperate to change,” O’Neil testified. “Nothing seemed to work, but they convinced me I was abhorrent and mentally ill. I was told conversion therapy would cure me.”