Maine Set to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors

Maine is the only New England state with no restrictions on conversion therapy for minors. But a bill banning the practice, defined as someone trying to change someone else’s sexuality, has now cleared the state's legislature.

On Thursday, the ban passed Maine's senate unanimously and is now on its way to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills for her signature.

Mills tweeted a short time later that she would sign the proposal into law.

Her approval all but ends a yearslong battle fought by LGBT advocates to push a ban through the legislature.

A previous effort in 2018 came to an abrupt end in 2018 when then-Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a similar proposed ban that got the legislature's approval.

"It's a long time coming. We should've done it many, many years ago," said state Sen. Justin Chenette, an openly gay lawmaker and one of the ban's co-sponsors.

Specifically , Maine's proposed ban will prohibit doctors, psychologists, guidance counselors, pastoral counselors and select others from trying to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity.

It does have some exceptions, like if someone is assisting a person who is already transitioning gender.

Democrats in Maine's senate say there was a lot of bipartisan support for the ban's final language.

"I think there's just a growing understanding that this is child abuse and that just like the other New England states, we needed to take a strong statement as a state to ban the practice," said state Sen. Heather Sanborn, a Portland Democrat.

A spokeswoman for Republican senators said they were not ready to comment on Thursday.

The ban will go through a few final procedural measures before going to Mills, but lawmakers say it will essentially land on her desk in the same form it is now.

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