Maryland Becomes Latest State to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

Maryland Becomes Latest State to Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed into law SB 1028 — critical legislation protecting LGBTQ youths from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” With Governor Hogan’s signature, Maryland joins the growing number of states and municipalities adopting critical protections for LGBTQ youth.

SB1028 was introduced in the Maryland State Senate by Senator Richard Madaleno and in the House of Delegates by Delegate Bonnie Cullison and passed the legislature with bipartisan support.

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 such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even 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.

“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. Today, Maryland is a better place for countless young people thanks to the many advocates, allies, parents, and survivors who spoke out against this practice and urged their elected officials — Republicans and Democrats alike — to adopt these crucial protections.”

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin. In addition, lawmakers in New Hampshire and Hawaii recently passed similar protections which currently await their governors’ signatures.

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