Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Wednesday to ban the practice known as conversion therapy in Washington state.
Danny Cords stepped into the state Capitol on Wednesday, a survivor of conversion therapy he wants to ban.
“Yes, absolutely,” it was akin to torture, he said. “Snapping a rubber band on my wrist, putting a rock in my shoe so I could always be thinking of Christ and not everything else that was going on in my brain because of biology.”
Cords was there as the governor signed a new law prohibiting licensed therapists from performing conversion therapy on anyone under the age of 18.
“We know the scars caused by conversion therapy need to end today in the state of Washington,” Inslee said.
The new law prohibits any regime to change the sexual orientation or gender identity, to change behavior or gender expressions, or to eliminate same-sex attraction. However, the law doesn't cover non-licensed or religious counselors.
When Seattle passed a similar law, critics objected.
“If they could basically attack the parents, they would. So, they are coming in the back door, trying to make it look like the issue is about therapists. It's not,” said Kevin Amos.
Asked why this should not be a decision for parents, the governor responded, “Because we don’t let parents or doctors make decisions to let broken legs be treated in something that ends up losing both your limbs. It's unprofessional, it's damaging, it is not scientifically credible and it violates not only our values, but the mental health of kids with decades of depression ahead of them if they are told to hate themselves.”
Cords tried suicide.
“I tried to end it, I didn't have a point to living, because that's what I had been told since I was 14.”
Those gathered for Wednesday's celebration say more needs to be done.
“It's a shame that we've gone this far in 2018 and haven’t outlawed this therapy nationally,” Cords said.
Mukilteo Sen. Marko Liias led the fight for years to ban conversion therapy. He succeeded this year because Democrats recaptured the majority in the state Senate.