Oklahoma House panel approves conversion therapy ban
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The discredited practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQ children would be prohibited in Oklahoma under a bill approved on Wednesday by a Republican-controlled legislative committee.
In a bipartisan vote, the House Committee on Children, Youth and Family Services voted 10-4 to send the bill to the full House. The measure would add conversion therapy to a list of unprofessional conduct by various medical and behavioral health providers.
Conversion therapy is a practice used to try to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The American Psychological Association has said it is not based in science and is harmful to mental health.
“I’m not surprised, because protecting children in Oklahoma is not a partisan issue,” said Rep. Jason Dunnington, and Oklahoma City Democrat and the bill’s author. “When we laid out the facts of why this is a dangerous practice, representatives really stepped up and wanted to do the right thing.”
Dunnington acknowledged he has an uphill challenge to get the bill to the governor’s desk but says he’s encouraged that his colleagues in the House appear to be more tolerant and accepting.
Utah approved a similar ban last month, becoming the 19th state and one of the most conservative to prohibit the practice.