Vice president Mike Pence. (Getty/J. Scott Applewhite)
Indiana, the home-state of vice-president Mike Pence, could be next in line to ban traumatising conversion therapy for LGBT+ people in a groundbreaking move.
JD Ford and Sue Errington, two Indiana Democrats, have introduced bills that would outlaw the dangerous practice in the state.
If passed, the bills would “make anti-LGBTQ practices illegal” and “penalise businesses and Hoosiers who participate in [the] debunked conspiracy theory”, according to the Stonewall Democrats.
“Putting a stop to this harmful and detrimental practice can save the lives of countless LGBTQ Hoosiers,” Ford said, according to WRTV.
“Our state has the chance to end this harmful and detrimental practice this year. A person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is not a disease that needs [to be] cured.
“In fact, every major medical and mental health organisation in our country has condemned the use of ‘conversion therapy’… there is no financial risk to our state government for approving this legislation, so why not do this?”
Meanwhile, Errington said in a press release that most people in Indiana have “never heard of conversion therapy” – but said the practice is ongoing in the state.
“I personally know some of my constituents were subjected to ‘conversion therapy’ as children and are concerned about its use on young people today,” Errington said.
“Last summer, a transgender friend of mine from Delaware County reached out to me and asked me to help end ‘conversion therapy’ in Indiana. Her plea prompted me to introduce House Bill 1213, which would end the use of this discredbied practice and protect Hoosiers who are born as LGBTQ.”
If the legislation is passed, Indiana would join 20 other states that have banned conversion therapy in some form.
Mike Pence has tried to rewrite his historic support of conversion therapy.
The news will likely come as a disappointment to the outgoing vice-president, who is famous for his connections to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
On the archived website for Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign, he suggested that funding for HIV prevention programming should be suspended and instead diverted to organisations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour”.
While campaigning to be vice-president, Mike Pence repeatedly declined requests to disavow the comments or clarify his point of view.
After being elected he attempted to rewrite history, claiming that he never actually supported the practise — even though his website had directly called for the therapy.
Mike Pence and Donald Trump are set to wave goodbye to their days as vice-president and president of the United States, with president-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated on 20 January.