Senate Bill 126, introduced by Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus), which prohibits the practice of conversion therapy on minors in Ohio, has found new legs. The Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist Board recently warned that if any of its licensed professionals were found practicing conversion therapy on LGBTQ patients, they could lose their licenses. The board oversees 40,000 professionals.
“I introduced SB 126 because we need to end the stereotype that being gay is a mental health disorder and to stop “treatment” that is out-of-date and psychologically harmful,” said Senator Tavares. “LGBTQ youth should not be subjected to practices that reinforce such futile and obsolete beliefs.”
Although the Republican-led Ohio General Assembly has ignored the bill since its introduction last year, the Board’s prohibition of conversion therapy mirrors the language of SB 126.
The Ohio Board of Psychology was the first board in Ohio to issue guidance against conversion therapy in 2016. New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and the District of Columbia have all banned conversion therapy. Dozens of medical associations and child-welfare institutions, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Counseling Association, have urged states to prioritize bills condemning conversion therapy.
“Ohio’s youth shouldn’t continue to suffer the devastating effects of conversion therapy,” said Sen. Tavares. “I am glad to see that our state boards are carrying this movement, regardless of the inaction by our General Assembly.”