Pending Gov. John Carney signing it into law, Delaware could soon become the 14th state, plus the District of Columbia, to ban conversion therapy.
The practice is used to try to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
"There's no evidence that conversion therapy works, it also causes LGBTQ youth to have tragic consequences of depression and even contemplating suicide," said the measure's sponsor state Rep. Debra Hefernan (D) on the House floor on Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Representative Ruth Briggs King (R) voted against the proposal, calling it unnecessary legislation.
"It has already been deemed an unacceptable practice starting back as late as 1998," said Briggs King. "There is no college, no university, no approved or credited program that will teach reparative therapy because it's just not used in practice."
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, hailed the passage of Senate Bill 65, protecting LGBTQ youth in the state from conversion therapy.
"For young people across Delaware, this legislation provides vital and potentially lifesaving protections from the damaging, dangerous and discredited practice known as conversion therapy," said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, a Delawarean. "While Delaware has made historic progress on LGBTQ equality, we can and must do more to protect LGBTQ youth from rejection, stigma and harm. SB 65 is a critical and significant step in that direction. We thank the Delaware General Assembly for their support of this vital legislation and we look forward to Governor Carney signing it into law."
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland and Hawaii all have laws or regulations protecting youth from conversion therapy.