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DENVER — Legislation that would prevent Colorado youths from undergoing gay conversion therapy — programs run mostly by religious organizations to steer gay and lesbian teens back toward a heterosexual orientation — passed its first test at the Capitol Tuesday.

After more than 90 minutes of emotional testimony, a House committee approved the bill on a 7-6 party-line votes, with the panel’s Democratic members all voting in favor of the proposal.

It faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate, should it eventually pass the full House.

The debate gets at the heart of a broader question about sexual orientation: is being gay or straight a fluid condition that can be changed or something fixed and biological?

Lawmakers heard from a number of individuals with personal stories, including Sarah Musick, whose parents refused to acknowledge her being a lesbian and sent her to a Focus on the Family program to convert her back into being a heterosexual.

Robin Goodspeed offered a different perspective, that of someone who lived for 35 years as a lesbian and declared that she is now straight thanks to religious-based counseling.