Conversion therapy now banned in Maryland

States highlighted ban the practice of conversion therapy. Maryland is the latest state to adopt a ban, responding well to its introduction by the first openly gay Maryland state senator, Richard Madeleno.

States highlighted ban the practice of conversion therapy. Maryland is the latest state to adopt a ban, responding well to its introduction by the first openly gay Maryland state senator, Richard Madeleno.

Conversion therapy on LGBTQ minors – the pseudoscientific practice of using psychological or spiritual methods to attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation to heterosexual – is still allowed by United States federal law, despite a consensus from medical practitioners and experts that the practice is harmful. Several states, however, have begun to pass their own laws banning the therapy. Maryland is set to become the next state to do so after the General Assembly voted in early April to pass the Youth Mental Health Protection Act which bans the practice.

The bill was originally introduced in the state Senate as SB1028 by Senator Richard Madaleno, the first openly gay Maryland state senator and a current candidate for governor. The state House version, HB0902, was sponsored by Delegate Bonnie Cullison, who is also openly gay.

“It is time we step up to save young LGBTQ people’s lives from being torn apart by this practice that should not exist in our day and age,” Madaleno said on Twitter after the initial Senate vote.

Many LGBTQ people, especially minors, and their supporters are applauding the historical move as an important act of progress. However, some believe this legislation should have been passed sooner.

“[Conversion therapy] shouldn’t have existed in the first place,” junior Emiliano Calvo-Alcañiz said. “There’s not much to say beyond I’m really glad that it’s banned since you shouldn’t torture gay youth.”

The bill passed through the state Senate by a vote of 34-12 and the House by a vote of 95-27. It will now be sent to Governor Larry Hogan, who has expressed that he will sign it into law. This will make Maryland the 11th state to pass such a law, joining a list that includes California, New Mexico and Illinois.

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