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Maryland lawmakers ban gay conversion therapy for minors

It'll become the 11th state to ban the conversion therapies

Maryland lawmakers ban gay conversion therapy for minors
Baltimore Pride 2015. | Photo: Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Maryland lawmakers just voted overwhelmingly in favor of banning gay conversion therapy for minors.

The House passed the bill 95-27, which will now make its way to Governor Larry Hogan to be signed into law. It is understood Gov. Hogan is personally in favor of the bill.

Maryland will become the 11th US state to ban gay conversion therapies for minors.

House delegate Meagan Simonaire spoke on Wednesday (4 April) about why she was voting in favor of the bill. When she came out to her parents as bisexual, she said they were ‘heartbroken’ and sought out conversion therapy as a viable option.

In an impassioned speech, she refers to the story of a girl who she later reveals as her.

She said: ‘They [her parents] weren’t ever hateful… but were fully convinced that she was living in sin and desperately wanted to get her the help she needed.

‘While she never actually had to endure conversion therapy, the pain of having her good-intentioned parents convinced of its ability to “fix her” was enough to cause significant pain, self-loathing and deep depression.

‘There were times where she seemingly couldn’t stop the tears from falling,’ she then said.

Gay conversion therapy is okay if it’s done in ‘a loving way’

Meagan Simonaire’s father is actually senator for the state, Bryan Simonaire. He voted against the bill.

Senator Bryan Simonaire argues the government shouldn’t advise parents on what treatment they give to their children. He even went so far as to say it’s okay if it’s done in ‘a loving way.’

He said: ‘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 then said according to the Baltimore Sun.

Simonaire also 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.


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