NEW YORK (AP modified) — New York is taking steps to stop therapists from trying to change young people’s sexual orientation, joining a number of states that have taken action against what’s known as “gay conversion” therapy.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans for new regulations Saturday. They will bar New York insurers from covering the therapy for minors and will prohibit mental health facilities under state jurisdiction from offering it to minors.
“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example. We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are.”
It’s not immediately clear how many insurers or facilities statewide provide the coverage or therapy now.
States including California, New Jersey and Illinois have banned conversion therapy. But efforts to ban it have failed in other states, including Colorado.
Opponents of conversion therapy say it has been discredited and can harm young people. Supporters say banning it limits treatment options.
State Senator Tim Kennedy, 63rd District released the following statement Saturday afternoon.
“Vulnerable young people deserve safeguards against the harmful practice of conversion therapy, which has been shown to cause long-term damage to the physical and mental health of individuals subjected to it. Physicians, mental health practitioners, counselors and the organizations that represent them have long discredited and condemned the use of conversion therapy, which is why I have cosponsored legislation in the Senate that would ban this practice. It’s time the state heed the call to protect New York’s youth, and I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking action to effectually ban this disproven, ineffective and harmful practice. With this action, we’re one step closer to fostering an environment of support and acceptance worthy of the great diversity of the Empire State.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan released the statement below.
“I commend Governor Cuomo for taking bold action today to protect LGBTQ youth in New York State from harmful conversion therapy. It is now well established that sexual orientation and gender identity cannot and should not be changed. By taking action today, Governor Cuomo is sending a strong message that New York State will not allow medical professionals to conduct dangerous experiments which inflict long-lasting damage upon LGBTQ youth. The Assembly acted last year to permanently ban conversion therapy, and we will do so again this year. The State Senate needs to step up to the plate to pass a ban during this legislative session, so that the actions Governor Cuomo has taken can be permanently codified in New York State law.”