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Massachusetts fails to pass bill banning conversion therapy

Massachusetts fails to pass bill banning conversion therapy

A carnival in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Massachusetts this month failed to pass a bill banning conversion therapy for minors, even though both the Senate and House approved it.

Minutes before the state’s 2018 legislature session ended on 1 August, the Senate passed the bill. However, they were not able to agree upon technical changes making the bill consistent with the House version.

The House passed the bill in June.

As they could not agree on technicalities, the bill died before it could be sent to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk.

One of the disagreements came from an amendment to the bill. The House passed the amendment, which removed language from the bill referring to conversion therapy as child abuse.

If the language remained, however, child protection services could remove minors from households where they were forced to undergo conversion therapy. Supporters in the Senate wanted the language to stay in tact.

Deborah Shields, an attorney and executive director of Mass Equality, said there are already plans to reintroduce the bill as soon as the 2019 session begins.

A gradual process in the works

Massachusetts’ bill was similar to numerous other states’ bills regarding this practice. It banned professionals from performing conversion therapy on underage patients.

Most medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and more, condemn the practice.

Conversion therapy is the practice attempting to change a person’s sexuality via psychological or spiritual means. It has no basis in evidential science.

More and more states across the US are beginning to ban the practice on minors, with Delaware as one of the most recent. Maine’s governor veoted a bill banning the practice in July, becoming the first governor to do so.

California, meanwhile, is making a headway on a bill declaring conversion therapy a ‘fradulent practice’.

H/t: Washington Blade

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