The Maryland legislature has approved a
bill that seeks to ban therapies that attempt to alter the sexual
orientation or gender identity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy” or “ex-gay
The House passed the bill 95-27 on
Wednesday, according to the AP. It now heads to the desk of
Republican Governor Larry Hogan, whose spokeswoman has said he
supports the measure.
Delegate Meagan Simonaire, a
Republican, told colleagues that she experienced “significant pain,
self-loathing and deep depression” when her parents sought
conversion therapy providers for her as a teen after she came out
bisexual to them.
“It this bill keeps even on child
from that, it will be worth sharing my story with you today,”
Simonaire is the daughter of Senator
Bryan Simonaire, who last week voted against the bill in the Senate.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, applauded passage and called
on Hogan to sign the bill.
“All children deserve to live their
lives authentically and should never be subjected to the abusive
practice of so-called conversion therapy,” said HRC Senior Vice
President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. “This
dangerous and ?inhumane practice has no basis in science and is
?uniformly rejected by every major mental health ?organization in
the country. We thank the state legislators who voted to protect
LGBTQ youth and now call on Governor Hogan to sign this crucially
Delegate Bonnie Cullison introduced the
bill in the House, while out Senator Richard Madaleno is its sponsor
in the Senate. Madaleno is also running to unseat Governor Hogan.
“No minor should be forced to go
through a practice that clearly every reputable health care
organization has dismissed as being both ineffective and unethical,”
Madaleno said. “All it does is create more harm and more anxiety
for the young person. I am pleased, and frankly, relieved that this
bill has passed: relieved, because this bill will help save so many
young people's lives.”
Washington, Connecticut, California,
Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, Rhode
Island, New Mexico and the District of Columbia have enacted similar
bans. An increasing number of local municipalities have also enacted
similar protections, particularly in Florida. Late last month,
became the first municipality in Wisconsin to enact such a ban.