July 6, 2018
Today Maine Governor Paul LePage vetoed LD912, which would have banned conversion therapy, the discredited and harmful practice of subjecting LGBTQ youth to so-called “therapy” which seeks to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Maine House and Senate voted for final passage of LD912, with bipartisan votes of 80-55 and 19-12 respectively, in the special legislative session held at the end of June.
GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement:
Today’s heartless and dangerous action by Governor LePage leaves Maine’s youth at risk. There is a clear consensus in the professional medical and mental health community about the serious harms conversion therapy causes LGBTQ youth. Governor LePage had an opportunity to protect Maine youth from these harms, and to ensure parents are not misled into subjecting their children to an unsafe and ineffective so-called “treatment.” Instead, the governor has sent a signal that the risk of hurting LGBTQ youth is acceptable.
Thirteen other states, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, have already banned the practice, including neighboring New Hampshire where Governor Sununu signed a bill just last month. This is not a partisan question. It’s about sending the message to LGBTQ youth that there is nothing wrong with them, that they are loved and valued as they are.
This is far from the final word on this issue. GLAD will continue working with our local partners to ensure the dangerous practice is stopped. It’s too important to young people across the state not to continue fighting for them to simply be themselves, and to know they are supported and cherished without having to change a fundamental and beautiful part of who they are.
GLAD has worked this session with EqualityMaine, the ACLU of Maine, the Maine Women’s Lobby, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign, and other state and local partners to advance this legislation in Maine. Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire have all banned the practice. A similar bill was passed by the Massachusetts House last month and is now pending in the Senate.