On Tuesday, New York's state legislature moved to add it to a growing list of states banning a highly controversial practice. New York's gay conversion therapy ban will mean that mental health practitioners can no longer employ the damaging technique on minors. Governor Andrew Cuomo applauded the passage of the legislation in a statement released on his website, and is expected to sign it.
Gay conversion therapy is a discredited technique that attempts to alter someone's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Many human rights and psychology experts say that the practice is dangerous, potentially leading to very negative health outcomes for those receiving it, the Human Rights Campaign reported.
New York's Assembly has been seeking to pass a gay conversion therapy ban for years, but has been repeatedly blocked by a Republican-controlled Senate, the HuffPost reported. Now, with a new Democratic majority in the Senate, the bill successfully made its way through the legislature and is headed to the governor's desk, the outlet noted.
In addition to passing a gay conversion therapy ban, New York's legislature also made history on Tuesday by passing the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). The bill protects transgender individuals from discrimination by making gender identity a protected class, the Daily Beast reported. Like the gay conversion therapy ban, GENDA has been passed many times by New York's Assembly, but was always blocked by the formerly Republican- majority Senate, the outlet noted.
Following the passage of both bills, Cuomo offered heavy works of praise for the legislature. In the aforementioned statement, Cuomo noted:
So-called LGBTQ conversion therapy is a fraudulent practice that has done untold harm to too many young people ... With today's passage of this important bill, New York is sending a clear message ... we will stand for nothing short of absolute acceptance and full equality. I applaud the legislature for taking this decisive action to ban conversion therapy and protect LGBTQ youth.
Cuomo also lauded the passage of GENDA on Twitter on Tuesday. As the governor wrote:
I commend the Legislature for finally passing #GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, codifying crucial protections into state law. Today we’re a more fair, just state and every New Yorker should be proud.
In addition to Cuomo, Democrats in New York's Senate also celebrated what they viewed as a long-due victory. “... The former Senate Republican Majority refused to pass any real protections for the LGBTQ community," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in a statement on the Senate's website. "Now, under the Democratic Majority, this Senate chamber is affirming that we stand with our LGBTQ community ... I am proud that the Senate Majority has passed these historic bills ... "
The HuffPost noted that gay conversion therapy bans are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, as 14 states plus the District of Columbia currently have bans in place (New York will be the 15th state to enact a ban). The passage of both bills certainly constituted history-in-the-making for the state and its new Democratic Senate majority, which is wasting no time in getting progressive legislation passed.