Bill proposed to Florida House would end conversion therapy in minors

Florida House Representative David Richardson (Miami Beach-D) filed HB137, a bill that would prohibit gay conversion therapy for minors.

The proposed bill would prevent “persons who are licensed to provide professional counseling” from providing “treatment with the goal of changing a person’s sexual orientation including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity or gender expression, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward a person of the same gender.”

That includes “medical practitioners, osteopathic practitioners, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed counselors,” according to HB137.

“It’s almost a form of child abuse, because children that have gone through this tend to have a lot more trauma later in their life in terms of that experience,” Richardson said in a statement on the bill, which he filed Sept. 3.

Similar laws are now on the books in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

Richardson, who is Florida’s first openly gay state elected official, was the representative who proposed removing the gay adoption ban language during the 2015 legislative session that was eventually signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.

If adopted into law, HB137 would take effect July 1, 2016.

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