David Lopez's picture

Maryland Doesn't Want to Pray Away the Gay

It is now illegal for conversion therapy to occur in the state of Maryland! Yesterday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law SB1028 which is vital legislation that protects LGBTQ youth from the dangers of what is known as ‘conversion therapy’. Washington, Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, and Rhode Island are all states that have similar laws protecting LGBTQ youth from this type of abuse.

The Human Rights Campaign site states:

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.

A study conducted at UCLA School of Law estimates:

Approximately 700,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults have undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received treatment as adolescents.

It also estimates 20,000 LGBTQ youth currently between the ages of 13 and 17 will receive conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they reach 18, and approximately 57,000 will be subjected to the controversial practice from a religious or spiritual adviser.

The new law goes into effect on October 1st and will prohibit licensed conversion therapy practitioners from offering treatments to minors. This does not, however, restrict therapy given in churches. Maryland’s commitment to LGBTQ youth is another great stride toward making this type of treatment to sexual orientation or gender identity outlawed across the U.S.—with much work still to be done. We see you, Red states!

Chad Griffin, HRC President says:

No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy. This dangerous and ​inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare ​organization. Today, Maryland is a better place for countless young people thanks to the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against this practice and urged their elected officials -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- to adopt these crucial protections.