Watch Evening News weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET.
AUGUSTA, Maine (ChurchMilitant.com) - Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, signed a bill May 29 that renders illegal reparative therapy for minor patients, effectively closing the door for parents seeking treatment options for their children.
"Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy," Mills posted on Twitter immediately after the signing. The law will go into effect 90 days after the current legislative season ends in June. Passage of the law makes Maine the 17th state to adopt such a law. The District of Columbia also bans the practice.
Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy, a widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine. Today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are. pic.twitter.com/heInzibvFJ— Governor Janet Mills (@GovJanetMills) May 29, 2019
"Today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are," Mills continued.
As for the bill, it states:
The State has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including the State's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and those youth seeking to examine or understand their sexual orientation or gender identity, from the advertising, offering and administering of conversion therapy and in protecting its minors from the serious health and safety harms that conversion therapy can cause.
It is the intent of the Legislature to protect the public health and the safety of all youth of the State, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and those youth seeking to examine or understand their sexual orientation or gender identity, by prohibiting the advertising, offering and administering of therapy designed to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, also known as conversion therapy, to individuals under 18 years of age in the State.
Mental health professionals found guilty of engaging in any type of professional counseling that might loosely fit the classification of "gay conversion" could face penalties up to and including losing their license to treat patients.
A similar bill was vetoed last summer by Mill's Republican predecessor, Paul LePage. Calling the law "bad public policy," LePage stated his objections:
This bill attempts to regulate professionals who already have a defined scope of practice and standard of care per their statutory licensing requirements. ... I strongly agree that young people should not be physically or mentally abused if they come out to their parents or guardians because they have experienced sexual or romantic attraction to an individual of the same gender. However, as it is written — "any practice or course of treatment" — can call into question a simple conversation.
Thus far, no laws have been passed that punish therapists who attempt to convince underage children they're homosexual or suffering from gender dysphoria or otherwise protect young people who identify as heterosexual or their respective birth gender.
As noted by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, a Louisiana-based organization dedicated to assisting individuals and families harmed by the sexual revolution, such laws may pose threats to women's mental health.
"Last month, we held our Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution," Morse said. "Elizabeth Woning, who formerly identified as lesbian, made the very interesting observation that many women develop same-sex attraction after being sexually abused by men."
Morse added: "These women desperately need the very kind of therapy that these laws ban. Ms. Woning therefore concluded that these conversion therapy bans are anti-woman. I agree with her."