Maryland has banned so-called “conversion therapy” from being practiced on minors. The therapy seeks to change the orientation or identity of LGBT people and has been shown to cause harm.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill into law Tuesday night, making the state the 11th to ban the practice, which has been discredited by medical and mental health professionals, including the American Psychological Association.
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“I think it’s fantastic, because it will save the lives of young people in our state,” said Sen. Richard Madaleno, who sponsored the bill, reports CBS.
He noted that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, adding that for “LGBT youth, it is an all-too prevalent situation, and it’s a significant move forward to say: ’You know what, be who you are.'”
According to the CDC, LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual counterparts. Transgender individuals have even higher rates, with one study, conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, finding 41 percent of the community had attempted suicide.
Del. Meagan Simonaire, a Republican, pictured above, spoke on the House floor about how her parents recommended conversion therapy in an attempt to “fix her” when she came out as bisexual. She said that even though she never received the therapy, just having her parents suggest it caused her deep depression.
Her father, state Sen. Bryan Simonaire, voted against the measure, just days before she voted for it.
California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington also have also passed laws banning the practice, as well as Washington, D.C.