Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed a bill today that would have protected LGBTI youth from conversion therapy. He is the first governor in the nation to do so.
The bill, which prohibited people from practicing conversion therapy on youth, first passed the state’s House and Senate before going to the governor’s desk.
LePage, however, did not sign it into law.
‘This is so broad that licensed professionals would be prohibited from counseling an individual even at the individual’s own request,’ he said in a statement according to a local news outlet.
He also expressed concerns over its perceived threat to religious liberty and concluded there’s no evidence of the practice in the state.
Conversion therapy is the practice, typically involving psychotherapy and spiritual means, to change someone’s sexual orientation.
Numerous medical associations condemn the practice. They say that it doesn’t work and, in many case, can have detrimental effects, such as depression and more.
‘Nothing less than child abuse’
Marty Rouse, National Field Director of the Human Rights Campaign, called LePage’s decision ‘shameful’. He further added that conversion therapy is ‘nothing less than child abuse’.
‘These crucial protections are supported by a bipartisan majority, and have been signed into law in a growing number of other states by both Democratic and Republican governors — including by the Republican governor in neighboring New Hampshire mere weeks ago.’
Now HRC is calling on Maine’s legislature to override the veto.
14 states plus the District of Columbia have laws and regulations banning the practice for minors. Delaware’s Governor is also currently looking at signing a bill into law to do this.
It is becoming something that most states are enacting legislation against.