Maine House passes conversion therapy ban bill

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Conversion therapy for minors is close to being banned in Maine.

The House passed the bill Wednesday by a vote of 91-46.

It would ban most licensed medical professionals from performing all forms of conversion therapy and only applies to minors.

Supporters say this is needed to protect minors from the practice.

"To take a child into therapy and to try to convince them to be someone they're not is incredibly harmful to who they are," said Rep. Jay McCreight, D-Harpswell. "As you heard on the floor, it can cause feelings of depression, suicidality to try to say to somebody you're not good enough, who you are is not okay."

Opponents say they worry about banning talk therapy, which they say can potentially help kids struggling with their gender identity.

"This bill is a solution in search of a problem," said Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, R-Knox. "In Maine we don't have any instances of what this bill is trying to fix. And there are some serious constitutional issues, Freedom of religion being the biggest one for me. Not being able to speak to a clergy member when you have a strong faith is a very important item to me."

An amendment was brought forward to ban all physical aspects of conversion therapy, but still allow talk therapy.

It was voted down.