Maine Legislature Votes to Ban Conversion Therapy
GLAD Applauds Maine Legislature’s Vote to Ban Conversion Therapy; Calls on Governor to Sign
Maine’s House and Senate voted today on final passage of a ban on 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 bill now goes to the desk of Governor Paul LePage.
“We are grateful that Maine’s legislature, with support on both sides of the aisle, voted to protect Maine’s youth from the devastating consequences of so-called conversion therapy,” said Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “Lawmakers heard from youth, parents and medical and child welfare professionals and have now sent the message to LGBTQ youth that they are loved and valued as they are. We urge the governor to follow suit and quickly sign this bill into law.”
Governor LePage has ten days from the time the bill reaches his desk to sign the legislation, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Once the bill becomes law, Maine would become the 5th state in New England and 14th state in the U.S., along with the District of Columbia, to ban conversion therapy. A bill to ban the practice is pending in Massachusetts, with hopes that it will also pass this session.
State and national medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations all oppose the practice of conversion therapy because there is no problem to be fixed, it harms youth, it is ineffective in changing sexual orientation or gender identity and it divides families. Children are harmed and families divided when parents reject their child by seeking to change them, and when the “therapists” blame someone in the family for making a child gay or transgender or for the failure of “therapy.” Young people who have been subjected to conversion therapy are at increased risk of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, and illegal drug use.
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 pass this legislation.