Conversion Therapy Bill Introduced in 2019 Legislative Session

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 28, 2019

Maine Rep. Ryan Fecteau, Sen. Linda Sanborn, File Conversion Therapy Legislation for 2019 Session

(AUGUSTA, Maine.) – EqualityMaine today praised Maine State Representative Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) and Maine State Senator Linda Sanborn (D-Gorham) for filing LD 1025, An Act To Prohibit the Provision of Conversion Therapy to Minors by Certain Licensed Professionals.

“Conversion therapy” is sometimes referred to as: Reparative Therapy, Ex-Gay Therapy, or Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE). All forms seek to change the patient or client’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and are based on the scientifically discredited premise that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) is a defect or disorder. Such practices are devoid of scientific validity and pose serious dangers to patients—especially youth. Minors subjected to conversion therapy are very often forced to participate and are at especially high risk of harm.

“I am proud to sponsor this important legislation once again,” said Representative Fecteau, who is the Assistant Majority Leader in the House. ““The State of Maine has a responsibility to protect young people, who are especially vulnerable, from these medically condemned practices.”

The conversion therapy bill garnered 96 bipartisan sponsors and co-sponsors - 77 in the House and 19 in the Senate - more than enough to pass through both chambers and be sent to Governor Mills.

“As a doctor, I am thrilled to be the lead co-sponsor on this initiative in the Senate,” said Senator Sanborn. “Medical and mental health professionals licensed by the State of Maine should be required to provide competent care, and not engage in discredited practices known to harm patients. This fundamental protection for young people in our state is long overdue.”

The 128th legislature passed a bill prohibiting conversion therapy with bipartisan support in 2018. Governor LePage became the first governor of any party anywhere in the country to veto the bill, after 6 Democratic governors and 6 Republicans governors across the country had previously signed such a bill.

“This bill had strong bipartisan support last year, but Governor LePage chose petty politics over protecting kids,” said Michael Coon, EqualityMaine’s board president. “We couldn’t be more excited to send this bill to the desk of Governor Mills, who has a long record of strong support for LGBT equality.”

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Founded in 1984, EqualityMaine is dedicated to achieving full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Mainers, and currently has more than 70,000 members statewide.

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