In February 2013, Washington Rep. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds introduced a bill to create a panel of 15 members to study the effects of conversion therapy on children 18 and younger. WSPA member Douglas Haldeman, Ph.D., offered his testimony against conversion therapy at the hearing for this bill. In 2014 WSPA member Matt Goldenberg, Psy.D., testified in support of another bill, ESHB 2451 which would make treating clients under the age of 18 with “sexual orientation change” or “reparative” therapies an act of unprofessional conduct. Bill ESHB 2451 did not pass out of the Senate at that time.
On January 19, 2018, a new bill, SB 5722, did finally pass through the Senate with a 67% majority. SB 5722 regulates the conduct of licensed health care providers with regards to performing conversion therapy on clients under the age of 18. Disciplinary action, ranging from fines or revocation/suspension of professional license, would be taken against any licensed professional who engaged in any form of “reparative therapy” which includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.
It is thanks to the hard work and testimony of WSPA members like Dr. Haldeman and Dr. Goldenberg that this bill passed through the Washington Senate. The City of Seattle voted unanimously to ban conversion therapy on minors in 2016, and nine states and multiple American cities have laws against conversion therapy as well.
SB 5722 – Restricting the practice of conversion therapy.
Regulates the professional conduct of licensed health care providers with regard to performing conversion therapy on patients under age eighteen.
Passed in Senate on Jan. 19, 2018 32 yeas, 16 nays
Has gone to the House on Jan. 22, 2018
States with laws prohibiting conversion or reparative therapy:
- New Jersey: 8/19/2013
- California: 8/29/2013
- Oregon: 5/18/2015
- Illinois: Passed 8/20/2015, effective 01/01/2016
- Vermont: Passed 5/25/2016, effective 7/1/2016
- New Mexico: 4/7/2017
- Connecticut: 5/10/2017
- Rhode Island: 7/19/2017
- Nevada: Passed 5/17/2017, effective 01/01/2018
- District of Columbia: Passed 12/22/2014, effective 3/11/2015
Cities that have also passed laws restricting conversion therapy:
- Seattle WA, (10/02/2016)
- Cincinnati, OH
- Miama Beach, FL
- Wilton Manors, FL
- Miami, FL
- North Bay Village, FL
- West Palm Beach, FL
- Bay Harbor Islands, FL
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Boynton Beach, FL
- Lake Worth, FL
- El Portal, FL
- Toldeo, OH
- Philadelphia, PA
- Dayton, OH
- and many other cities