On April 7, New Mexico became the seventh state to ban “conversion therapy,” an unscientific and dangerous religious practice meant to “cure” LGBTQ folks, mostly youth, of their queerness.
Republican Governor Susana Martinez, the 10th least popular governor in the country, signed the bill into law with the support of the blue legislature. The ban prohibits licensed doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other health practitioners from applying conversion therapy to minors. However, the ban does not apply to religious leaders or anyone who does not have a medical license.
Conversion therapy is a debunked right-wing Christian process based on the premise that queerness is a “disease” that is curable. It has been condemned by the United Nations Committee Against Torture as well as countless credible medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Not only is conversion therapy discredited, it is also dangerous, even deadly. LGBTQ folks subjected to conversion therapy are more likely to attempt suicide and suffer from PTSD, among other things. It has been classified by many activists as torture, especially given that it often entails methods like brutal interrogation and shock “therapy.”
“Today’s historic action by Governor Martinez confirms that our shared commitment to protecting all children from abuse transcends party labels and ideological differences,” openly gay Democratic State Senator Jacob Candelaria said. “I… want to thank the victims of conversion ‘therapy’ who came forward to support this bill. Their stories did not fall on deaf ears. They turned their suffering into a force for good, and because of them, and for them, we have made history.”