Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday signed a bill banning harmful gay “conversion therapy” for minors.
Said Northam in a statement: “Conversion therapy sends the harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are. This discriminatory practice has been widely discredited in studies and can have lasting effects on our youth, putting them at a greater risk of depression and suicide. No one should be made to feel they are not okay the way they are—especially not a child. I’m proud to sign this ban into law.”
Virginia is the first state in the South, and the 20th in the U.S. to ban the harmful practice.
NBC News reports: “Virginia’s measure, HB 386, which takes effect July 1, prohibits health care providers or counselors licensed by the state from subjecting anyone under 18 to the practice. Doing so, according to the bill, will constitute ‘unprofessional conduct and is grounds for disciplinary action.'”