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Md. lawmaker to introduce bill to ban conversion therapy for LGBT youth

Thursday, January 9, 2014
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland lawmaker said he plans to introduce a bill this legislative session that would prohibit the use of controversial gay-to-straight conversion therapy on LGBT youth.

Del. Jon S. Cardin

Del. Jon S. Cardin

The announcement by Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County) would put Maryland in the company of several other states — including Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio — considering similar bans this year, and which have already been approved in California and New Jersey.

“The major medical and psychological organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association have recognized that being gay is not a disease or a choice,” said Cardin, in a statement.

“It is not something you can change with any therapy. Attempting to change sexual orientation with ‘therapy’ does a child far more harm than good,” he said.

Joshua Greenfeld, Cardin’s Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, told LGBTQ Nation on Thursday that that the time had arrived to signal to the rest of the country that these types of discredited practices needed to be eliminated.

The draft legislation is modeled after the recently passed California bill, which withstood a legal challenge in a federal appeals court.

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Greenfeld noted that the bill would be limited to treatment of minors, and that the ban would not apply to religious leaders or organizations or their teachings on issues of sexual orientation. He added that the measure has also been amended to strengthen protections for transgender Marylanders.

Greenfeld said the bill would be co-sponsored by Del. Anne Kaiser, a member of the LGBT Caucus, and would be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Madaleno, also a member of the LGBT caucus.

“Gay conversion therapy is dangerous, unhealthy and is opposed by legitimate medical practitioners,” said Kaiser. “I am proud to co-sponsor this important legislative effort that will support the health and well-being of all Maryland children.”

Greenfeld added that it’s too early to gauge legislative support for the bill, but indicated that co-sponsors in a bipartisan approach are currently being sought.

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