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New York State Senate Moves to Protect Minors From Gay Conversion Therapy

The New York state Senate voted to become the 15th state to ban gay conversion therapy on minors Tuesday, legally declaring that “being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency, or shortcoming.”

The bill was passed by the Democratic-majority state senate, and will be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as soon as next week, NBC News reports.

The N.Y. state Senate also voted to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and classifies offenses based on such identities as hate crimes.

“Recognition, at long last,” tweeted New York state senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored both pieces of legislation. “This is going to change so many lives for the better.”

Gay conversion therapy operates under the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder, and attempts to alter one’s sexual orientation through shame, behavioral therapy, or physical treatments like inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis. Despite being around for decades, the practice has been deemed dangerous by a number of major medical associations.

According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, research shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults who report being rejected by their family during adolescence were more than eight more likely to have attempted suicide, more than five times more likely to report high levels of depression, and were more than three times more likely to use illegal drugs.

Fourteen states and Washington D.C. currently ban conversion therapy for minors.