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Senate Passes Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

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Allegra Boverman for NHPR
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The New Hampshire Senate has passed a ban on the practice of gay conversion therapy. The late night vote came after the Senate failed to reach an agreement on it earlier Thursday.

Gay conversion therapy is the practice of seeking to change someone's sexuality or gender identity. The Senate bill bars licensed counselors, ranging from nurses to marriage counselors, from engaging in the practice with people under age 18.

The 16-8 vote comes after debate over the bill's infringement on religious freedom initially stalled action on the measure. Six Republicans joined the 10 Democrats in the Senate in backing the ban. The bill specifically says the new law cannot infringe on religious freedom.

Gov. Maggie Hassan is praising the Senate's decision to support the ban.

The Republican-led House already has approved the ban. But the House and Senate bills differ slightly and the chambers will need to agree on the language before sending the bill to Hassan's desk for her signature.

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