HONOLULU, Hi.– The Democratic governor of Hawaii has signed a bill banning professional counselors from helping struggling youth resist homosexual feelings.
“[S]exual orientation is not an illness to be cured,” Gov. David Ige claimed during the signing at the state capitol building on Friday. “We accept you and love you just the way you are.”
He asserted that efforts to change homosexual youth “absolutely [have] no place in our beautiful islands.”
Senate Bill 270, which passed the House earlier this month and the Senate in March, specifically prohibits professional counselors from providing “sexual orientation change efforts” to homosexual youth under 18. It contends that the services place homosexuals at risk of harm, “including depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviors.”
“No person who is licensed to provide professional counseling shall: (1) Engage in or attempt to engage in sexual orientation change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age; or (2) Advertise the offering of sexual orientation change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age,” the bill reads.
“Any person who is licensed to provide professional counseling who engages in or attempts to engage in the offering of sexual orientation change efforts on a person under eighteen years of age shall be subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate professional licensing authority,” it warns.
While counselors are prohibited from helping youth turn away from homosexuality, the legislation notes that the ban does not apply to any counselor who conversely “provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person” who has homosexual feelings, or “facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development…”