Rhode Island lawmakers propose banning anti-gay therapy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Proposals working through Rhode Island’s legislature could ban what’s called “conversion therapy,” a practice aimed at changing young people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bills have been introduced by Democrats in the state Senate and House of Representatives to prohibit psychologists, social workers and other licensed health care professionals from using practices that treat homosexuality as an illness and try to cure it in children under 18 years old.

The House bill had its first hearing Wednesday and was held by a health committee for further study. The Senate bill was introduced Wednesday and is awaiting its first hearing.

Similar laws exist in several other states, including Vermont, which enacted a ban last year.

It’s not clear if there are any licensed clinicians in Rhode Island who practice conversion therapy.