EDITORIAL: After years of obstruction, Colorado is poised to protect children from the fraud and danger of ‘conversion therapy’


After five years of obstruction, it appears Colorado will finally be able to save children from abuse at the hands of fake therapists and psychologists who dangerously claim to “cure” them of their homosexuality.

This week, House Bill 1129 moves to the state Senate with a real chance to become law. The measure would ban quacks of all kinds from inflicting the discredited practice of “conversion” or “reparative” therapy on minors.

For the past five years, Colorado Republicans have held a one-seat majority in the state Senate, allowing them to procedurally kill similar measures to ban this menacing quackery.

No one with legitimate scientific or medical credentials disputes that this so-called “therapy” is a dangerous fraud.

The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, American College of Physicians, American Psychoanalytic Association and others have condemned it as a hoax, deleterious, useless or all of the above.

A group of high-profile organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center have worked to persuade the Federal Trade Commission to come down on this snake-oil industry for what it is: consumer fraud.

In cahoots with organizations like the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, the industry and its proponents have appealed to lawmakers who see this as a free-speech or parental rights issue.

It’s nothing of the sort.

Proponents and these hucksters refuse to accept the science and law surrounding homosexuality. It is not a disease. It’s not a choice. It’s human biology. An effective ban on inflicting this on minors saves parents from what may be their own well-meaning but misguided and harmful instincts.

The real damage from conversion therapy, especially with children, is often depression, behavioral issues, suicide and a lifetime of unhappiness.

Imagine the outrage and reaction of lawmakers working against this ban should a group of “therapists” claim to be able to convert heterosexual children to homosexuals as a medical cure for parents who deem it necessary.

It’s true that, as a society, we limit the power of government to nanny adults. Should a grown person see some value in this snake oil, Colorado can no more prevent it than it can keep people from doing illicit drugs, overeating, binging on pornography or any number of self-destructive activities.

But the law is different regarding children who have no real option.

Conversion therapy crosses the line from being a parental choice or right to becoming a clear and distinct form of child abuse. It’s no different than starvation, neglect, maiming or leaving your son or daughter in the care of any other thug or fraud.

With political obstruction in the state Senate gone, state lawmakers are free to debate how to implement and uphold this ban, rather than waste time on “free speech” and “parental rights” distractions.

Let Colorado to join the ranks of states that protect children from these sorts of harm, even when they come from inside the home.