Proposed Bill Would Ban Conversion Therapy

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) A public hearing is scheduled Wednesday for a bill to ban gay conversion therapy in Maine.

The Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development will hold the hearing Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 10 a.m.

The proposed law would ban "practices or treatments that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity," according to the bill.

Rep. Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, proposed the bill. It is co-sponsored by State Sen. Erik Brakey, R-Androscoggin.

"The State of Maine has a strong interest in protecting the well-being of all our youth," EqualityMaine executive director Matt Moonen said. "This bill protects Maine's LGBT youth by ensuring that licensed health care providers cannot engage in a practice that is known to put them at risk for both physical and emotional harm."

Nine other states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, have outlawed conversion therapy.

The New Hampshire House approved a ban on the practice by eight votes earlier this month. Last month, New Hampshire House Republicans defeated a pair of bills to ban gay conversion therapy for minors on two tie votes.

Opponents have said they are opposed to coercive forms of conversion therapy, but they said that taking talk therapy off the table goes too far. But supporters of the ban contended that even trying to talk someone out of their sexuality can do harm.