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Bill to ban therapy to change sexuality of minors in Virginia dies in House

An attempt to ban Virginia mental health professionals from trying to change minors’ sexuality has been tabled in a House subcommittee, effectively killing the legislation.

Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington), with the support of progressive and gay rights groups, pointed to medical associations that disavow so-called conversion therapy. Two women who had gone through such therapy themselves testified that they were scarred by the experience. But the lawmakers also heard from two men who argued that conversion therapy had helped them overcome same-sex attraction and should not be banned.

Hope’s bill would not have affected therapy for adults or religious counseling that does not involve mental health professionals.

Republicans have a large majority in the Virginia House, and the Health, Welfare and Institutions subcommittee has only one Democratic member.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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