Maryland lawmakers vote to ban ‘gay conversion therapy’

Apr 6, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland lawmakers voted Wednesday to prohibit health professionals from practicing “gay conversion therapy” on minors, after a legislator spoke of the pain she experienced when her parents sought it for her. Just days earlier, the woman’s father, a state senator, voted against the bill.

The House passed the bill 95-27, sending the measure to Gov. Larry Hogan. A spokeswoman for Hogan said the governor supports the bill.

“This issue is not about Republicans or Democrats nor conservatives or liberals,” Del. Meagan Simonaire said before the House vote. “It’s not about religious values. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about the fact that it’s impossible to fix something that was never broken in the first place.”

Simonaire, a Republican, spoke about how, as a teenager, she kept the fact that she was attracted to both boys and girls from her parents. She said when she finally confided to them about being attracted to a female teen, they sought conversion therapy providers for her. While she never had the therapy, she says the thought that her parents believed they could “fix her” was enough to “cause significant pain, self-loathing and deep depression.”

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