Maine Gov. Janet Mills Signs Legislation Protecting LGBTQ Youth from “Conversion Therapy”

by Nick Morrow

Bipartisan-passed L.D. 1025 signed into law

HRC celebrated Maine Governor Janet Mills signing into law L.D. 1025, which protects LGBTQ youth from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support and makes Maine the 17th state in the U.S. to protect youth from this egregious practice.

“Today, Maine has taken decisive action to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign. “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.”

There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people resulting in depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this harmful practice. Colorado’s governor is expected to sign a similar bill into law later this week. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including at least fifty cities and counties in Arizona, Florida, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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. Last year, national organizations representing millions of licensed medical and mental health care professionals, educators, and child welfare advocates declared their support for legislative protections against conversion therapy.

HRC has partnered with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), EqualityMaine and local advocates in support of these vital protections. More information on the lies and dangers of efforts to change sexual orientation or gender identity can be found here.