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Bill Would Ban Conversion Therapy For Minors In Ohio

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Karen Desuyo

A bipartisan bill would ban Ohio children under 18-years-old from participating in so-called conversion therapy, the discredited practice of trying to change a person's sexual orientation.

Several Ohio cities have banned the controversial practice, including Columbus and Cincinnati. State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) says there’s a good reason to keep kids away from it.

“It’s amazing that this antiquated, outdated and scientifically flawed technique is even still in use today because it does not work and it does nothing but harm our young people who know themselves to be gay or lesbian," Lightbody says.

Mainstream doctors and mental health professionals agree the practice is harmful for children. Conversion therapy has been denounced by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Associationand the American Psychological Association.

More than 20 Democrats and two Republican lawmakers have signed onto the bill. Lightbody also says she thinks more are likely to come on board as the bill progresses through the legislative process.

Conversion therapy was recently banned for minors in Utah, the 19th and most conservative state to outlaw the practice.

Ohio has consistently ranked among the worst states for LGBTQ equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign, due in part to allowance of conversion therapy for minors.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.