May 15, 2018 at 12:43 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Hogan signs bill banning conversion therapy for minors in Md.
Republicans, gay news, Washington Blade

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on May 15, 2018, signed a bill that bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in the state. (Photo by Maryland GovPics; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday signed into a law a bill that bans so-called conversion therapy for minors in his state.

State Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) introduced Senate Bill 1028, which received final approval in the Maryland House of Delegates last month. State Del. Meagan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County) in a speech she gave before the vote came out as bisexual and disclosed her parents — including state Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel County) — recommended that she undergo conversion therapy.

State Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County) sponsored SB 1028 in the House.

“At a time when teen suicide rates are on the rise, we need to do everything we can to encourage young people to live true and fulfilling lives,” said Madaleno in a statement that FreeState Justice, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, released. “That’s why I have fought so hard to this important bill passed, and that’s why I am relieved that it is now signed in to law.”

FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio in the same press release praised both Hogan and Maryland lawmakers who voted for the bill.

“Governor Hogan and Maryland’s General Assembly send an important affirmation to LGBTQ youth across our state with the signing of these two bills,” said Procopio. “LGBTQ youth are perfect as they are and are deserving of every opportunity to help then thrive.”

Maryland joins D.C., Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington that ban conversion therapy for minors.

Lawmakers in Hawaii and New Hampshire recently passed similar bills that are awaiting signature from their state’s respective governors. The California Assembly last month approved a bill that would classify conversion therapy as a fraudulent business practice in the state.

“No child should ever be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement. “This dangerous and ​inhumane form of child abuse has no basis in science and is ​uniformly rejected by every major mental health and child welfare ​organization.”

”Today, Maryland is a better place for countless young people thanks to the many advocates, allies, parents and survivors who spoke out against this practice and urged their elected officials — Republicans and Democrats alike — to adopt these crucial protections,” he added.

Hogan is running for re-election. Madaleno is among the Democrats who are challenging him.

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

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