Following federal calls to end gay conversion therapy for LGBT youth, Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban the practice in professional and educational circles.
The proposed bill, which was introduced in the state’s House and Senate, says that being gay isn’t a disorder and makes it illegal to advertise, teach, or professionally counsel lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens to change their sexual orientation.
Hawaii passed same-sex marriage in 2013 after two decades of debate.
"These children, these teenagers are quite vulnerable," Democratic Rep. Della Au Belatti, who introduced the bill, told The Associated Press. "This is an issue because we don’t want them to be subject to further pressure and stigmatization during their formative years in school."
Opponents say the bill doesn’t give parents an opportunity to choose.
“What if a child is questioning? They’re on the fence. It happens. As a parent, I want, personally, to steer my child in a particular direction. By this bill, I’m banned from doing that,” Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa Beach) told KHON.
“This is merely more political correctness," he added, "nothing more than tyranny with manners.”
Conversion therapy has been widely considered to do more harm than good. A federal report released in October found no evidence supporting the idea that homosexuality was a disorder that can be cured, and concluded that the therapy "is inappropriate and reinforces harmful gender stereotypes."
The Huffington Post has spoken to several survivors of gay conversion therapy trauma, one of whom likened it to "gay exorcism."
So far, several states have passed similar laws, including California, Oregon, New Jersey and Illinois, according to the AP.
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