Add Maryland to the list of states banning harmful “conversion therapy” meant to turn gay people straight. The programs greatly increase chances of suicide and are completely ineffective.
Governor Larry Hogan signed the legislation today along with another bill meant to help LGBTQ youth. The other law will expand housing and support services to youth experiencing homelessness – a disproportionate number of whom are members of the LGBTQ community.
FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio said, “Governor Hogan and Maryland’s General Assembly send an important affirmation to LGBTQ youth across our state with the signing of these two bills. LGBTQ youth are perfect as they are and are deserving of every opportunity to help them thrive.”
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“At a time when teen suicide rates are on the rise, we need to do everything we can to encourage young people to live true and fulfilling lives. That’s why I have fought so hard to this important bill passed, and that’s why I am relieved that it is now signed in to law,” said Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno.
“No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This dangerous and inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare organization.”
Maryland joins Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington as states that have banned the fraudulent “therapy.”
Lawmakers in New Hampshire and Hawaii recently passed similar protections which currently await their governors’ signatures.
According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional if state officials fail to act.