Maine Legislature Passes Conversion Therapy Ban

For Immediate Release - Bill Would Prohibit Licensed Medical and Mental Health Professionals from Using the Dangerous and Discredited Practice with Minors

June 26, 2018

Today the Maine House and Senate passed LD 912, An Act To Clarify the Scope of Practice of Certain Licensed Professionals Regarding Conversion Therapy, with strong bipartisan support in both chambers. The bill now goes to Governor LePage, who may sign it, veto it, or let it go into law without his signature.

“We are delighted with today’s votes and grateful that the legislature, with strong support on both sides of the aisle, has taken action to protect Maine youth from the devastating consequences of so-called conversion therapy,” said Matt Moonen, Executive Director of EqualityMaine. “This legislation will make Maine a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ youth.”

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.

“Government’s greatest responsibility is to protect its most vulnerable citizens, especially minors who may not be able to protect themselves,” said Moonen. “We thank the bill’s many supporters in both the House and Senate for stepping up to support all youth in our state, and we urge Governor LePage to send a clear message to our young people that their government doesn’t view as them as broken and values them exactly as they are.”

Governor Paul LePage has not yet taken a public position on the bill. If he allows it to go into law, Maine would become the 14th state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. Six other Republican governors - Christie (NJ), Rauner (IL), Martinez (NM), Sandoval (NV), Hogan (MD), and Sununu (NH) -have signed such bills into law.

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 76,000 members statewide.

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