Maine has become the 17th state to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for minors.
The legislation prohibits state-licensed counselors, psychologists, social workers, health professionals, guidance counselors and pastoral therapists from engaging in the harmful practice of trying to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Lawmakers in Maine passed a similar bill last year, but the legislation was vetoed by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage. His veto made him the only governor in the U.S. to veto a ban on conversion therapy.
Today, however, Gov. Janet Mills enthusiastically signed the bill into law saying in a statement, “Conversion therapy is a harmful, widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine.”
“By signing this bill into law today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people in Maine and across the country: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are,” she added.
Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy, a widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine. Today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are. pic.twitter.com/heInzibvFJ
— Governor Janet Mills (@GovJanetMills) May 29, 2019
Conversion therapy has been widely denounced by leading professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association.
Studies have shown that the harmful practice can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.
The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, is invested in ending conversion therapy in every state.
Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, applauded Maine’s efforts to help LGBTQ youth.
“After the disappointment of last year’s veto, they came back stronger and passed legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the dangers of conversion therapy,” said Brinton in a statement. “We will continue to push each and every day to insure that every state in the country follows Maine’s example and ends this cruel practice once and for all.”