Ban On Youth Conversion Therapy Heads To Oregon Governor

May 7, 2015

Oregon lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a measure that would ban so-called conversion therapy for youth.

The Oregon Senate voted in favor of the bill, which now heads to the governor's desk.

"Conversion therapy" is the term given to the idea that counseling can convince someone to change their sexual orientation.

Supporters of the ban say teens who have undergone conversion therapy have higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide. The practice has been discredited by mainstream mental health organizations.

"This bill is our top priority because it protects Oregon's youth, Oregon's LGBTQ youth, from a really harmful, outdated practice," said Nancy Haque with Basic Rights Oregon, who came to Salem to watch the vote from the Senate Gallery.

Opponents of the bill say they worry about the rights of religious groups.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week decided not to hear a case challenging a similar ban on youth conversion therapy in New Jersey.