By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island State Assembly House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would bar licensed healthcare institutions from using the debunked gay conversion therapy to allegedly change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Nevada and Connecticut this month became the latest of eight states to ban this debunked scam.

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The legislation (2017-H 5277A) takes aim at the discredited practice of trying to use various forms of therapy or treatment to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or eliminate or reduce a person’s attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

“Conversion therapy is essentially based on the false claim that being LGBT is a mental illness that needs to be cured,” said GLAD Senior Attorney Patience Crozier.

State Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick who is one of the bill’s co-sponsors said
GLAD’s testimony revealed the “barbaric” nature of the practice.” said McNamara.

Another co-sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Moira Walsh, D-Providence, added..”More than 80 people were present to testify in favor of the bill during the committee hearing, while only one testified against it” said Walsh.

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The Assembly in a surprising turn, voted 69-0 to pass the bill on Tuesday May 30 with six legislators abstaining. The bill now moves forward to the State Senate where it is still unclear if it will pass with the same unanimous approval.

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