Advocates: LePage's Veto Of Conversion Therapy Bill 'Sends A Terrible Message'

Jul 7, 2018

Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a hotly debated measure to ban a type of therapy intended to change a patient's sexual orientation.

The governor says the ban on "conversion therapy" is bad public policy and that there is no evidence that any medical professionals are even using the therapy in Maine.

LePage also expressed concern that the bill could infringe on religious freedom. Matt Moonen, executive director of Equality Maine, says LePage is wrong.

“Studies show that this actually causes harm to minors who are subjected to this so-called treatment," Moonen says, "so this sends a pretty terrible message from the governor to LGBT kids across the state.” 

Moonen says LePage is the first governor to veto a bill protecting minors from conversion therapy. Thirteen other states have such laws on the books, and six of them were signed by Republican governors.

“The government already has a lot of standards for licensing that it requires a person to meet in order to get a license from the state. And this would just be one more standard where it would be the government saying this practice of conversion therapy has been shown not to work.” 

But, with the bill's close vote in the Legislature, Moonen says that LePage's veto is likely to be sustained.