A bill that seeks to prohibit therapies
that attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth cleared the
Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
Earlier this month, the Massachusetts
House overwhelmingly approved the bill.
Thursday's vote in the Senate was
equally lopsided, with senators voting 34-0 in favor of the bill with
According to MassLive.com, one
Republican, Senator Patrick O'Connor, voted for the bill. Five
additional Republicans voted “present.”
The measure now heads to the desk of
Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican. Baker has previously said that
he's “inclined to support” the bill.
Senate Republicans said that they
worried the bill was unconstitutional.
Democrats said that they were confident
that is not the case. “It relies on the well-established authority
of the state to regulate professional conduct,” Democratic
Senator Joan Lovely said.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, cheered the news.
“Children everywhere deserve to live
their lives authentically and should never be subjected to the
dangerous and discredited practice of so-called conversion therapy.
We laud and thank those who voted in the Massachusetts legislature to
pass – in a bipartisan fashion – these vital and potentially
life-saving protections in the Bay State,” said HRC National Field
Director Marty Rouse. “Now, we look forward to Governor Baker’s
signing this bill into law, ending this egregious practice in
Rico governor signs order banning “ex-gay” therapy.)