March 28, 2018 at 12:48 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Md. Senate approves bill to ban conversion therapy for minors

Maryland State House, gay news, Washington Blade

The Maryland Senate has approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Maryland Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

Senators approved Senate Bill 1028 — which state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced — by a 34-12 margin. State Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County) has put forth an identical bill in the Maryland House of Delegates.

“Conversion therapy denies young people their humanity,” Madaleno told the Washington Blade after the vote. “It is a cruel practice that has no basis in science: all it does is create more harm and more anxiety for the young person.

FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio said the vote is “welcome news.”

“We are hopeful that the House of Delegates will move swiftly in the remaining days of session to make these protections law,” he told the Blade. “Children across our state need to be free from the coercion and harm that mental health professionals associate with these barbaric practices.”

Brian Gaither, co-founder of the Pride Foundation of Maryland, also applauded the vote.

“Conversion therapy is a retrograde practice, and it’s good to see that the Senate agrees there’s no place for it in Maryland,” he told the Blade.

Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse in a statement described conversion therapy as an “abusive and inhumane practice” that “has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health organization in the country.

“We are calling on the Maryland House of Delegates to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for his signature,” he added.

A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday told MarylandMatters.org the governor supports SB 1028.

Nine states and D.C. have banned so-called conversion therapy for minors.

Virginia lawmakers earlier this year tabled two bills that would have banned the practice in the state. The New Hampshire House of Representatives last month approved a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy for minors.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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