Waites pushing to ban conversion therapy for minors in Georgia

Protesters in Chattanooga, Tenn., in 2013.

ATLANTA — State Representative Keisha Waites, D-Atlanta, said she is continuing to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors in the state of Georgia.

House Bill  716 would prohibit any licensed professional counselor, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or marriage and family therapists, from conducting conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 18 years old in the state of Georgia.

Conversion therapy is a form of therapy intended to influence a person’s sexual orientation through counseling. Waites originally introduced similar legislation during the 2014 legislative session. 

“Conversion therapy has proven to be a psychological deterrent to many young people,” Waites said in a statement. “This harmful therapy uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse which often lead to depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, and even suicide. I hope Georgia will join the list of four other states and our nation’s capitol to ban this reprehensible practice.”

To date, legislation banning conversion therapy on minors has become law in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, according to Waites. Similar legislation has also been introduced in at least 17 other state legislatures since 2014.

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