Democratic Governor Janet Mills signed the bill on Wednesday, which passed with strong bipartisan support. The new law will come into effect 90 days after the close of the state’s legislative session next month.
“Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy, a widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine,” said Mills.
“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.”
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
The so-called therapy, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.
“Today, Maine has taken decisive action to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign.
“We’re grateful to Gov. Janet Mills for signing this bill into law, the Maine state legislature — especially lead sponsor Rep. Ryan Fecteau — and EqualityMaine for their leadership in taking up this important issue.
“As more states and jurisdictions work to prevent this dangerous, debunked practice, it is clear: ‘conversion therapy’ should have no place in our country.”
Maine now becomes the 17th US state to ban conversion ‘therapy’ for minors.
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia have all passed similar laws.
Earlier this year, US territory Puerto Rico also ordered a ban, with Governor Ricardo Rosselló saying the practice “causes unnecessary harm and suffering” to LGBTQ people.