Maryland governor signs bill banning conversion therapy for LGBT minors

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 17, 2018

Matthew Shurka, a survivor of conversion therapy who now works with the National Center for Lesbian Rights on its #BornPerfect campaign to ban conversion therapy in all states by the end of 2019, hailed the bill's passage.

Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ youth crisis intervention organization, called the law "a victory in our fight to protect LGBTQ young people everywhere from this risky and discredited practice".

"The potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient", according to the association, which says conversion therapy programs tell participants that "homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction".

The practice has been widely discredited by scientists, including the American Psychological Association.

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Among those who backed the bill was Delegate Meagan Simonaire, who, in an impassioned speech on the state Senate floor April, said that her father, state senator Bryan Simonaire, pushed her to go through gay conversion therapy. The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law estimated 20,000 minors will be subjected to the practice in states and municipalities with no bans or limits. "LGBTQ youth are flawless as they are and are deserving of every opportunity to help them thrive".

Maryland joins Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington as states that have banned the fraudulent "therapy".

Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation today along with another bill meant to help LGBTQ youth.

Advocates vowed to keep working until the anti-gay treatment is banned in all 50 states. "Today, the state of Maryland took an important step to ensure that all of Maryland's young people know that they are born ideal".

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