Controversial sexual conversion therapy bill moves through state legislature

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A new bill is going through the state legislature that would ban licensed mental health professionals from practicing sexual conversion therapy.

This is the third year that this bill has made it through the State House of Representatives.

The first two years, it died in the Republican-held State Senate.

Now, it heads back there once again.

If it passes, Colorado would join 5 other states and Washington D.C., who already have similar bans.

This is an extremely controversial topic with one side calling it child abuse, and the other saying the ban violates key constitutional rights.

Claire Kinsey is transgender and her parents made her go through conversion therapy as a teenager.

“They believe that it is possible to refrain from a homosexual identity or a transgender identity,” said Kinsey.

They use specific techniques.

“That looks like prayer, it looks like talk therapy using shame to point someone away from homosexuality,” said Kinsey.

Speaking from her own experience, “that often fails and is often linked to depression, anxiety, suicide. I do not believe a practice like that should be forced on to minors I feel like kids should have the power to make their own decisions,” said Kinsey.

Jeff Johnston is with focus on the family and he said this ban is unconstitutional.

“It threatens parental rights, freedom of speech, it threatens freedom of religion,” said Johnston.

Many, including Claire, call conversion therapy child abuse, but Johnston said that isn’t true.

“Parents have the right to make choices, because they care about their children and want whats best for them, they have the choice to make decisions for their child,” said Johnston.

Even with the bill passing the House, it’s unlikely it will pass the Senate for the third year in a row.

“We’ve been able to convince those senators that the bill violates religious freedom, freedom of speech, parental rights, and client self-determination, and that’s why they vote down the bill,” said Johnston.

The Republicans control the State Senate 18-17, so if a few Republicans go across party lines it’s possible the bill could pass.

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