Maine Gov. Janet Mills has signed a new bill into law that will ban conversion therapy for minors statewide.
According to local news affiliate WGME, Mills, a Democrat, was widely expected to sign the bill, which passed through Maine’s legislature with bipartisan support during the state’s most recent legislative session. She confirmed her support this Wednesday, May 29, signing the dotted line and making the law a reality.
Today I signed into law a bill banning conversion therapy, a widely-discredited practice that has no place in Maine. Today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people: we stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are. pic.twitter.com/heInzibvFJ
— Governor Janet Mills (@GovJanetMills) May 29, 2019
The bill in question bars licensed medical providers from practicing gay or trans conversion therapy on Maine residents under the age of 18. Supporters cited ample documentation of the potentially life-threatening effects of conversion therapy on LGBTQ youth, including depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Mills’ approval has made the Pine Tree State the 17th state in the U.S. to ban the practice, following 16 other states and the District of Columbia.
1/2 #breakingnews in #mepolitics as @GovJanetMills signs the law to #banconversiontherapy and #protectLGBTQyouth in Maine. Thank you to @RyanFecteau for your leadership, and these brave #LGBTQyouth for your testimonies. pic.twitter.com/ztjhM927Ex
— EqualityMaine (@EqualityMaine) May 29, 2019
In a press statement, reps from The Trevor Project and EqualityMaine praised the state’s lawmakers for furthering the fight to protect queer youth.
“With this signature, Maine has become a safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ youth, who will never again need fear being sent to a licensed professional for the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy,” said Matt Moonen, executive director of EqualityMaine. “We are grateful that Governor Mills, along with legislators in the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle, were able to come together to act to protect Maine’s youth.”
Colorado is also poised to outlaw conversion therapy, with gay Gov. Jared Polis expected to sign a similar bill into law in the coming days, according to ABC News 7 Denver.