Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a conversion therapy ban on Wednesday, paving the way for the state to become the 11th to outlaw the discredited practice on minors.
Governor Larry Hogan, who is expected to sign the measure into law before the current legislative ends on April 9.
“This is a discredited practice, and we’re just trying to align our law to that degree,” Rich Madaleno (above), the openly gay state senator who authored the bill, told The Washington Post in March.
Under the law, counselors who practice conversion therapy on minors are subject to fines or revocation of their licenses. It does not affect religious counselors or unlicensed practitioners.
.@HRC was proud to work with @FreeStateLGBTQ and @WISE_SP to pass legislation protecting #LGBTQ youth in the state from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” The bill now heads to the governor's desk. https://t.co/08FVEHUAii pic.twitter.com/dpGC0G895b
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 4, 2018
“This dangerous and inhumane practice has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health organization in the country,” said HRC’s JoDee Winterhof in a statement. “We thank the state legislators who voted to protect LGBT youth and now call on Gov. Hogan to sign this crucially important legislation.”
State Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Pasadena) had opposed the measure, claiming it was too broad.
“I don’t think [conversion therapy] is abuse in every case,” said Simonaire. “The definition is so expansive this bill could revoke someone’s license and livelihood by a simple conversation. I wonder if Jesus would have been banned if he had been licensed in Maryland.”
A report from the Williams Institute estimated some 20,000 LGBT Americans will undergo conversion therapy by medical professionals before they turn 18.