Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat,
on Wednesday signed a bill into law that prohibits therapies that
attempt to alter the sexual orientation or gender identity of
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth.
Such therapies go by names such as
“conversion therapy,” “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
“Today I signed into law a bill
banning conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that has no
place in Maine,” Mills captioned photos of herself surrounded by
LGBT rights advocates as she signed the bill. “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.”
Lawmakers approved a similar bill last
year, only to have it vetoed by former Governor Paul LePage, a
Republican who said that he had “grave” concerns that the measure
could be interpreted “as a threat to an individual's religious
An effort to override LePage's veto
The bill was introduced by
Representative Ryan Fecteau, an openly gay Democrat from Biddeford,
and Senator Linda Sanborn, a Democrat from Gorham.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, cheered the news.
“Today, Maine has taken decisive
action to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’”
Marty Rouse, national field director for HRC, said in a statement.
“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.”
Sixteen states plus the District of
Columbia have similar laws. Colorado lawmakers recently approved a
similar bill and Governor Jared Polis is expected to sign it into
Rico governor signs order banning “ex-gay” therapy.)