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Legislator says gay conversion therapy is okay if it’s ‘done in a loving way’

Legislator says gay conversion therapy is okay if it’s ‘done in a loving way’

Maryland Legislator Bryan Simonaire

A Maryland legislator says gay conversion therapy should be allowed, as long as it’s done in a ‘loving way’.

More and more US states are starting to ban the controversial and discredited practice, with Washington recently passing a bill and becoming the 10th state to ban conversion therapy.

The Maryland Senate passed a bill on Wednesday (28 March) that would make it illegal for licensed mental health professionals to offer therapy to minors..

The bill is expected to head to the House of Representatives for final deilberation.

However the ban does not affect religious groups or unlicensed practitioners.

But Senator Bryan Simonaire argues the government shouldn’t advise parents on what treatment they give to their children.

Legislator argues that conversion therapy ‘isn’t abuse in every case’

Gay conversion ban minors Washington State
Washington banned gay conversion techniques being used on minors (Picture: Flickr) Ted Eytan/Flickr

Simonaire said that parents should be able to choose conversion therapy, if it’s conducted in a ‘loving way’.

‘I don’t think [conversion therapy] is abuse in every case,’ claiming the ban would silence a child who wanted to talk to their clergy or health care professional about feeling gay or transgender.

‘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,’ he said according to the Baltimore Sun.

Simonaire reportedly backed an amendment to the bill that would bar coercion, electroshock therapy, and other abuse.

However he gave his support to therapists flexibility with other conversion methods.

Growing number of states banning controversial ‘gay conversion’ therapy

A rainbow flag in Maui, Hawaii.
Rainbow pride in the Aloha state. | Photo: Flickr/D.A. Lewis

Maryland has joined a number of states banning the controversial ‘therapy’.

Earlier in March the Hawaii State Senate passed a bill banning conversion therapy on minors in the Tuesday 6 March session.

In SB 270’s text, ‘conversion therapy, both in practice and advertisement, is prohibited age.’

Furthermore, it also explains research done exploring the harm of conversion therapy.

Legislators wrote the bill based on a task force the American Psychological Association set forth to assess the practice.

‘The task force concluded that sexual orientation change efforts are unlikely to be successful and involve risk of harm to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals

‘This includes depression, suicidality, loss of sexual feeling, anxiety, shame, negative self-image, and other negative feelings and behaviors.’