(L to R) HRC Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad, Delegate Anne Kaiser, Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Delegate Luke Clippinger, Delegate Mary Washington, Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Senator Rich Madaleno, FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio
Today, legislation protecting LGBTQ youth in Maryland from the dangerous and debunked practice of so-called “conversion therapy” was passed by the Maryland House of Delegates with bipartisan support by a vote of 95-27. The bill, SB1028 was previously approved by the Maryland State Senate. We urge Governor Hogan to act quickly and sign this bill into law.
The Governor has indicated his initial support of this legislation. Voice your support to ensure the Governor moves to swiftly sign this bill into law. You can contact him below.
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SB1028 was introduced in the Maryland State Senate by Senator Richard Madaleno and in the House of Delegates by Delegate Bonnie Cullison. FreeState Justice, the Human Rights Campaign, and WISE of Anne Arundel County has been working with the sponsors in both chambers this session for passage of this legislation.
“No minor should be forced to go through a practice that clearly every reputable health care organization has dismissed as being both ineffective and unethical,” said Senator Rich Madaleno, the bill’s Senate sponsor. “All it does is create more harm and more anxiety for the young person. I am pleased, and frankly, relieved that this bill has passed: relieved, because this bill will help save so many young people’s lives.”
“I am so grateful and happy to have been a part of this affirmation of our LBGTQ youth,” said Delegate Bonnie Cullison, the bill’s sponsor in the House of Delegates. “Today, with passage of SB 1028, Maryland has made a strong statement that these young people are not broken–they are beautiful! We owe them our support and our protection under the law.”
There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. To the contrary, research has clearly shown that these practices pose devastating health risks for LGBTQ young people such as depression, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and even suicidal behavior. The harmful practice is condemned by every major medical and mental health organization, including the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and American Medical Association.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington all have laws or regulations protecting youth from this abusive practice. A growing number of municipalities have also passed similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
According to a recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, an estimated 20,000 LGBTQ minors in states without protections will be subjected to conversion therapy by a licensed healthcare professional if state officials fail to act.
Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Bonnie Cullison celebrating the passage of Maryland’s ban on conversion therapy for minors, which they sponsored.