GOP Governor of Maryland Bans 'Ex-Gay' Therapy for Youth

Maryland Bans Gay Conversion Therapy

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".

Gay conversion therapy is defined as "psychiatric therapy aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation, based upon the assumption that homosexuality is a mental disorder requiring therapy", according to the Medical Dictionary. Simonaire said when she finally told her parents, they sought conversion therapy providers for her. Bryan Simonaire, also a Republican, voted against the bill.

"No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called 'conversion therapy, '" said HRC President Chad Griffin. "This unsafe and inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization".

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 IL. Any attempt to "cure" the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ minors under the age of 18 will henceforth be classified as "unprofessional conduct".

"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", he continued.

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Supporters of the ban note the therapy is widely discredited by medical and mental health associations.

A number of Republican lawmakers, including Yuba City Assemblyman James Gallagher, worry the move threatens to curtail free speech, especially given the practice of gay conversion therapy is already outlawed in the state.

New York State has tinkered with regulations to ensure the practice can not be covered by health insurance, as a way to circumvent its Republican-run State Senate.

After the bill was signed into law, Senator Madaleno called the news "fantastic". "LGBTQ youth are flawless as they are and are deserving of every opportunity to help them thrive".

New Hampshire and Hawaii have both passed bills banning gay conversion therapy, but the measures have not yet been signed into law, according to NBC. "Today, the state of Maryland took an important step to ensure that all of Maryland's young people know that they are born flawless".

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