Maryland has outlawed gay ‘cure’ therapy for minors with a bill was signed by Governor Larry Hogan this week.
The bill, sponsored by out Senator Richard Madaleno, prohibits licensed mental health or child care practitioners “from engaging in conversion therapy with individuals who are minors” and bans the direction of state funds towards such practices.
It cleared the House in April by a vote of 95-27, after passing the Senate by a vote of 34-12.
However, before it could be made into law, Governor Larry Hogan was required to approve the bill. Although a spokesperson for the Republican governor had said he supported the measure, some were cautious.
Despite broad opposition to LGBT rights within the GOP, a number of Republican Governors have previously signed bills banning gay ‘cure’ therapy – including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and Bruce Rauner of Illinois.
After the bill was signed into law, Senator Madaleno called the news “fantastic.”
“I think it’s fantastic, because it will save the lives of young people in our state,” he told USA Today on Tuesday.
The Human Rights Campaign, along with groups FreeState Justice and WISE, urged Governor Hogan to sign the bill after it landed on his desk in April.
HRC President Chad Griffin greeted the passage of the bill, stating: “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.”
FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio added: “In signing this legislation, Governor Hogan joined the General Assembly in choosing to not only protect LGBTQ youth from harm, but to send an affirmation to children across Maryland who may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. They are perfect as they are.”
After the measure passed in both chambers, the bill’s House sponsor, Delegate Bonnie Cullison, said: “I am so grateful and happy to have been a part of this affirmation of our LBGTQ youth.”
A growing number of US states are adopting laws to outlaw the practice of gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Washington all have laws protecting youth from gay ‘cure’ therapy, while bills are pending in a string of other states.
Experts overwhelmingly agree that attempts to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often extremely harmful. Attempts to force teens to repress their sexuality has been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.
Outside of the US, performing gay cure therapy on minors is illegal in Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces, and the Australian state of Victoria.
The UK government has also recently said it is considering a ban.
Check out the original story at PinkNews.