Today, Colorado House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors, goes into effect.
Sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Senator Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, HB19-1129 bans a state-licensed medical or mental health care provider from engaging in the discredited, harmful practice of conversion therapy on a patient under 18 years of age in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. A physician or mental health care provider who violates this provision engages in unprofessional conduct under the applicable professional licensing board.
Colorado is the 18th state in the country to ban conversion therapy for minors.
A version of this bill was first introduced in 2015, and was introduced every session after. All were previously sent to kill committees in the Republican-controlled Senate after passing the House. This year, the bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers.
One Colorado Executive Director Daniel Ramos said, “After five attempts in the last five years, Colorado has finally taken the significant step in protecting our LGBTQ youth by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the false claim that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured – a view that has been rejected as scientifically invalid by every major medical and mental health group. No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Mental health care should be ethical and affirming for all people – including LGBTQ young people. I applaud the Colorado General Assembly for their bipartisan support of this measure. Protecting our LGBTQ youth is not a partisan issue.”
One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans.
Silas Musick, a survivor of conversion therapy and graduate of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family Institute, said, “Therapy with the purpose of guiding people to the best version of themselves is beneficial, healing, and can save lives. However, therapy where only one outcome is considered successful is harmful. After years of trying to change an unchangeable part of myself, I know I am valued and loved for who I am. I’m thankful our LGBTQ youth are now protected from this dangerous and discredited practice by medical and mental health professionals.”
On March 25, the Colorado Senate passed House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors on a bipartisan 21-13 vote. Senators Don Coram, R-Montrose, Kevin Priola, R- Henderson, and Jack Tate, R-Centennial, were the Republican votes in support of the bill.
On February 19, the Colorado House passed House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors on a bipartisan 42-20 vote. Representatives Colin Larson, R-Littleton, and Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, were the two Republican votes in support of the bill.
Governor Jared Polis, the country’s first openly gay elected governor, signed the bill into law on May 31, 2019.
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Republican Gov. Mike DeWine Vetoes Anti-Trans Bill After Talking to Families With Trans Kids
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio became only the second Republican to ever veto a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors. He made his decision after traveling to children’s hospitals and talking to families that would be affected by the bill.
DeWine vetoed the bill, Sub. H.B. No. 68, Friday morning. Not only would the bill ban transgender athletes from competing on teams matching their gender expression, the AP reports, it also would stop trans kids from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapy or gender-alignment surgeries—even though the last of these is extremely rare in minors.
DeWine told the AP last week that he had just been to three children’s hospitals in the state to learn more about the realities of trans health care for minors. He also spoke to families with trans youth, according to NBC News.
“We’re dealing with children who are going through a challenging time, families that are going through a challenging time,” DeWine told the AP. “I want, the best I can, to get it right.”
After vetoing the bill, he said that decisions about gender-affirming care “should not be made by the government,” but families and doctors, NBC News reported.
“This bill would impact a very small number of Ohio’s children,” DeWine said Friday, according to Axios. “But for those children who face gender dysphoria and for their families, the consequences of this bill could not be more profound.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is the only other Republican governor to veto a similar bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. Hutchinson, who is also running for the presidential nomination for his party, vetoed the bill in April 2021, telling NPR he thought it was “too extreme.”
“It was too broad, and it did not grandfather in those young people who are currently under hormone treatment. And so this really puts a very vulnerable population in a more difficult position. It sends the wrong signal to them,” Hutchinson told the radio network at the time.
“But also in my veto, I wanted to say to my Republican friends and colleagues that we’ve got to rethink our engagement in every aspect of the cultural wars,” he added. “The Republican Party that I grew up with believed in a restrained government that did not jump in the middle of every issue.”
Unfortunately, Hutchinson’s veto was overridden by the Arkansas legislature. A similar fate may await DeWine’s veto. Ohio’s legislature has a Republican supermajority, and only one Republican, Senator Nathan Manning of Northeast Ohio, voted against the bill when it was initially passed, according to the AP. State senators need a three-fifths majority to overturn the veto.
Rep. Tim Walberg Tells Uganda to ‘Stand Firm’ on ‘Kill The Gays’ Law Ted Cruz Called ‘Horrific’
Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) delivered a speech in Uganda to defend the country’s President Yoweri Museveni and the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023, better known as the “Kill the Gays” law.
Walberg traveled to Uganda in October to attend a national prayer breakfast organized by the Fellowship Foundation, also known as The Family, which also covered the cost of his trip, according to TYT. In the speech, transcribed by the blog Take Care Tim, he told the attendees to “stand firm” in the face of criticism.
“Whose side do we want to be on? God’s side. Not the World Bank, not the United States of America necessarily, not the UN. God’s side,” Walberg said. “I think as we go on here, it says, ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’ – Who’s gonna do that? God is gonna do that. Your esteemed President, his excellency, President Museveni needs a nation that stands with him and says, though the rest of the world is pushing back on you, though there are other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you, stand firm. Stand firm.”
Walberg made it clear he knew his view would be unpopular in the United States.
“Now, this will probably get back to the national media in the United States, and I expect some pushback, but I’m not gonna give in to them. … I know that your President is a warrior. I like that about him. We’re in a battle, folks. We are in a battle,” he said.
Though Uganda has had homophobia enshrined in its legal code since it was a British protectorate, the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 is a drastic escalation. Previously, homosexuality was punished with life in prison, according to the Advocate. The new law allows the death penalty for those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.” It also bans “promotion of homosexuality,” much like Russia bans queer “propaganda”.
The law is so draconian that Republican Senator Ted Cruz—no ally to the queer community—condemned it. In May, shortly after Museveni signed the law, Cruz called the law “horrific” on X, formerly Twitter.
“This Uganda law is horrific & wrong. Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ is grotesque & an abomination. ALL civilized nations should join together in condemning this human rights abuse. #LGBTQ,” Cruz tweeted.
This Uganda law is horrific & wrong.
Any law criminalizing homosexuality or imposing the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is grotesque & an abomination.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 29, 2023
Attempts to pass a similar bill to the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 started in 2014, with a bill also called the “Kill the Gays” law. That form of the bill was built by anti-LGBTQ activist Scott Lively, who previously claimed then-President Barack Obama was secretly gay.
While it didn’t go into effect then, the bill and ones like it kept popping up on Uganda’s parliamentary agenda. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden threatened to cut nearly $1 billion in annual aid to Uganda if the bill passed.
A previous version of this story credited Salon with the initial reporting; Salon had republished the article from TYT. The sourcing has been corrected; NCRM regrets the error.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Says He Won Election Due to GOP’s ‘Cruel’ Anti-Trans Campaign
Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear told MSNBC host Jen Psaki on Monday that the one of the reasons he won reelection was due to the Republicans’ focus on anti-transgender rhetoric in campaign ads.
Earlier this month, Beshear won his reelection over Republican candidate Daniel Cameron with 52.5% of the vote to Cameron’s 47.5%. Beshear proved even more popular this year than when he was first elected in 2019 with 49.2% of the vote in a tight race with incumbent Matt Bevin.
“I will say, the way these Super PACS and my opponent went about their campaign was just mean, and it was gross, and it was cruel,” Beshear told Psaki. “And people don’t like that. That is not who we are, and this oughta be a message that you can’t scapegoat people just to get folks angry, and it’s wrong. Right?
“Think about what some people are doing, trying to dehumanize other human beings. Trying to turn people against each other. To even foster hate and anger towards another American, here, another Kentuckian. And why? So you can elect one more person that has a certain letter behind their name? This can’t be right and left, some things have to be basic right and wrong.”
"All children are children of God…I was going to stand up for the most marginalized children that didn't deserve either a state legislature or an entire campaign and all these Super PACs picking on them."@GovAndyBeshear on the GOP's sweeping anti-trans bill in Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/XOZQ1ZicK7
— Inside with Jen Psaki (@InsideWithPsaki) November 21, 2023
Republicans focused on Beshear’s veto of a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors, even in cases where a patient is already being treated. The bill also banned teachers from using trans students’ correct pronouns and from discussing gender and sexual identity.
At the time, Beshear said that the bill would “cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth” and that it “strips freedom from parents to make personal family decisions,” according to LGBTQ Nation. Despite Beshear’s concerns, the Kentucky General Assembly voted to override his veto.
Ads funded by the American Principles Project PAC made unfounded claims that Beshear would use the FBI to remove trans children from unsupportive parents, according to LGBTQ Nation. Other ads featured the former collegiate swimmer Riley Gaines, who became an anti-trans activist after tying for fifth place in the 2022 NCAA freestyle championship with Lia Thomas, a trans woman.
Kentucky isn’t the only state to see notable losses by the GOP. Across the country, Republican candidates and policies were struck down at the polls. Ohio voters voted to put the right to abortion into the state constitution, Virginia voters flipped the House of Delegates blue and in many cities, far-right school board candidates lost.
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