Maine House passes bill to ban conversion therapy, Senate vote expected

AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives has voted to pass a bill that would ban the harmful practices of conversion therapy. The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford), will now head to the Maine State Senate for a vote.

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L.D. 912, An Act To Clarify the Scope of Practice of Certain Licensed Professionals Regarding Conversion Therapy, was reported out of the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee yesterday. It passed the House with 73 votes for, 68 votes against, and 7 abstentions. See a list of the 68 state representatives who voted no.

“Professionals licensed in Maine are heroes and heroines to their clients, and that is even more true with youth,” Rep. Fecteau said after his bill was sent to the Maine House floor. “The State should not grant licenses to those who join these heroic professions and abuse their responsibility and freedoms by damaging vulnerable young people through practices considered bunk by leading health organizations.”

State Senators have already come out in support of the bill.

State Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec), who is also on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, stated, “I’m proud of House Democrats for standing up for the LGBTQ youth in our state. Every young person should know that they are precious and valued, and that’s why we must ban conversion therapy now.”

“I am really happy that the House passed LD 912. I hope my colleagues in the Senate will join me in voting to ban this terrible practice,” said Senator Ben Chipman (D-Portland).

Conversion therapy practices include innducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis; providing electric shocks; or having the individual snap an elastic band around the wrist when the individual became aroused to same-sex erotic images or thoughts, according to a 2009 report by the American Psychological Association. According to the same report, it also includes other techniques such as covert sensitization,shame aversion, systematic desensitization, orgasmic reconditioning, and satiation therapy.

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