Before a packed cabinet room, Gov. Janet Mills has signed legislation that would ban conversion therapy, a practice aimed at trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Today, together, we are protecting LGBTQ youth people from a practice deemed harmful by every major medical association in the country and in our state,” says Democratic Representative Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford, who sponsored the bill.
He says conversion therapy can pose serious mental health risks for young people and contribute to depression, substance abuse, homelessness and suicidal behavior.
Fecteau is gay and testified to his personal experiences with the controversial process.
“To reject somebody’s innate being is, at the very least, demeaning and degrading and, at the very worst, harmful and potentially deadly,” Fecteau says.
The ban takes effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns. Maine is the 17th state to ban conversion therapy.
Originally published May 29, 2019 at 11:25 a.m. ET.