The Rhode Island House of Representatives passed House Bill 5277, which “would prohibit ‘conversion therapy’ by licensed health care professionals with respect to children under 18 years of age. Violations of this act would subject the health care professional to disciplinary action and/or suspension and revocation of the license by the director of the department of health.”
The bill passed 69-0, with six representatives, Michael Chippendale, David Coughlin, Kenneth Marshall, Brian Newberry, Ramon Perez and Sherry Roberts, abstaining or not voting.
Speaking on the house floor in support of the bill, Representative Joseph McNamara (Democrat, District 19, Warwick, Cranston) seemed genuinely moved by the testimony he heard as chair of the House Health Education and Welfare Committee. “The testimony of these witnesses was compelling,” said McNamara, “They spoke of depression, attempted suicide, substance abuse, and numerous negative outcomes from this so-called therapy…”
Those advocating for the bill’s passage cheered from the galleys when McNamara called for the bill to be passed, and cheered again when the bill overwhelmingly passed.
The House bill was submitted by Representative Edie Ajello (Democrat, District 1, Providence). A Senate version, from Senator Donna Nesselbush (Democrat, District 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) awaits passage in the Senate, where it is currently being held in committee.
You can watch the video of the bill being passed here: