New Mexico lawmaker proposes bill to ban conversion therapy

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s called conversion therapy, and one state lawmaker thinks it’s time to ban the practice in New Mexico. It’s a practice that’s become an even bigger topic these days because of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s stance.

Sen. Jacob Candelaria says while this bill is about New Mexico kids, he does want it to send a message to Washington. Sen. Candelaria calls gay conversion therapy for minors a “dangerous practice” equating the people behind it to modern day “snake oil peddlers.”

The bill was introduced Thursday morning. Sen. Candelaria says gay conversion therapy is barbaric, pointing to methods like electroshock therapy and shaming tactics. Hundreds of New Mexicans have signed a petition to get therapists and churches from using the practice.

Similar laws have been passed in only a handful of states, but many cities have adopted ordinances.

“The reality is every child in New Mexico is born perfect. No gay child in this state needs to be cured,” said Sen. Candelaria.

Sen. Candelaria, who’s openly gay, says he’s confident this bill will get to the governor’s desk. He’s hopeful Martinez will sign it.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Governor’s Office and asked if she would, in fact, sign the bill. Her office said she hasn’t read it yet, so no answer.

In 2016, legislators passed a House Memorial to recognize the dangers of “teen boot camps,” including those that promote gay conversion therapy.

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