Maine’s governor is the first to veto a conversion therapy ban

Maine’s governor is the first to veto a conversion therapy ban
Gov. Paul LePage (R), MainePhoto: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) vetoed a bill yesterday that would have banned conversion therapy for minors in that state.

LD 912 passed the state legislature last month, and it would have allowed the state to deny or revoke the professional license of any medical or mental health professional that tries to change the gender identity or sexual orientation of a minor.

“This is so broad that licensed professionals would be prohibited from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request,” LePage said in his veto message, even though the bill was entirely about minors.

He also said that the bill would have infringed on religious freedom: “Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment for their children from professionals who do no oppose the parents’ own religious beliefs.”

In addition to saying that people have a right to conversion therapy if they want it and parents have a right to force their kids into it, he also said that there’s no evidence that conversion therapy is practices in Maine, bizarrely comparing conversion therapy to female genital mutilation.

“Legislators who could not stand up and outlaw the permanent mutilation of young girls’ sexual organs by laypersons in unsanitary conditions with razor blades are now concerned with outlawing conversations, of which there is also ‘no evidence’ that it is happening in Maine,” LePage wrote. “This is a disgusting double-standard.”

Female genital mutilation is already banned under federal law.

LePage wrote that, despite his veto, he agrees that “young people should not be physically or mentally abused” if they tell their parents “they have experienced sexual or romantic attraction to an individual of the same gender,” parroting Christian conservative language.

Thirteen states have already banned conversion therapy.

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