Gov. Northam Signs Ban on Conversion Therapy and Repeal of Same-Sex Marriage Prohibitions Into Law

Virginia is the first state in the American South to ban the practice of conversion therapy

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Lt. Governor Northam speaks at EV Gala on April 1, 2017 in RIchmond. (Photo: Equality Virginia)

Governor Ralph Northam today announced he has signed 68 pieces of legislation into law, including bills to ban the harmful practice of “conversion therapy” and a repeal of statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions.

The measures include House Bill 386, sponsored by Delegate Patrick Hope. This legislation outlaws the harmful and controversial practice of “conversion therapy” for minors, which attempts to forcibly change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Conversion therapy sends the harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are,” said Governor Northam. “This discriminatory practice has been widely discredited in studies and can have lasting effects on our youth, putting them at a greater risk of depression and suicide. No one should be made to feel they are not okay the way they are—especially not a child. I’m proud to sign this ban into law.”

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous, destructive practice,” said Delegate Hope. “We should be supporting and celebrating our LGTBQ youth, not putting them in harm’s way.”

Northam also signed House Bill 1490, introduced by Del. Nancy Guy that repeals the statutory prohibitions on same-sex marriages and civil unions or other arrangements. These prohibitions were made invalid following the 2015 United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.