Governor LePage Vetoes Bill That Would Protect Maine Kids From Conversion Therapy

For Immediate Release - LePage Is First Governor Ever to Veto Bill That Would Prohibit Licensed Medical and Mental Health Professionals from Using the Dangerous and Discredited Practice with Minors

July 6, 2018

Today Governor Paul LePage vetoed LD 912, An Act To Clarify the Scope of Practice of Certain Licensed Professionals Regarding Conversion Therapy. The bill now returns to the House, where it originally passed with bipartisan support. A two-thirds vote to override the veto is unlikely, however.

“Government’s greatest responsibility is to protect its most vulnerable citizens, especially minors who may not be able to protect themselves,” said Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine. “Governor LePage had the opportunity, in one of his final acts as governor, to make Maine a safer place for LGBTQ youth. Unfortunately, he chose petty politics over protecting kids.”

State and national medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations all oppose the practice of conversion therapy, a practice which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Studies have shown the practice does not successfully change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and can be extremely harmful to youth. Young people who have been subjected to conversion therapy are at increased risk of depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, and substance abuse.

Under the bill’s provisions, any medical or mental health professional licensed by the State of Maine who practices conversion therapy would be subject to discipline by the relevant licensing body, up to and including the loss of their professional license.

“This lame duck governor has failed the people of Maine by obstructing common sense legislation yet again,” said Moonen. “But Maine voters have repeatedly proven at the ballot box that they support full equality for LGBT people. As we look forward, all options are on the table, including taking this to referendum and asking the people of Maine to once again show the politicians in Augusta where they stand.”

Governor LePage is the first governor ever to veto a bill protecting minors from this dangerous and discredited practice. Thirteen other states have such laws on the books, and six of them were signed by Republican governors - Christie (NJ), Rauner (IL), Martinez (NM), Sandoval (NV), Hogan (MD), and Sununu (NH).

 

Update

July 9, 2018

House Republicans voted to uphold Governor LePage’s veto of LD 912.

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