Massachusetts scraps bill to end ‘gay cure’ therapy
The US state of Massachusetts has failed to pass a bill outlawing gay conversion therapy, despite it being approved by both the state’s House and Senate.
The bill was verbally approved by the state Senate just after midnight on the final day of the legislature’s 2018 session, reports LGBT+ publication Washington Blade.
However, legislators did not manage to make a number of technical changes required to turn the bill into law, and so that it was consistent with a version passed by the House in June.
Deborah Shields, an attorney and executive director of regional LGBT+ rights organisation Mass Equality, reportedly said that a proposal to extend the deadline for the bill was blocked by one of its opposers, republican James Lyon.
Shields said that that the bill’s supporters would reintroduce the bill when the legislature session begins again in January 2019.
But she said that the the process for the bill must now start again, according to the rules for introducing new legislation.
“So we have to start the battle all over again,” she said, according to Washington Blade. “As you can probably tell, I’m frustrated and aggravated by the whole process.”
Reports indicate that the Senate wanted to amend the bill passed by the House, which had taken out a clause from the proposed legislation that had called for ‘gay cure’ therapy inflicted upon minors to be classified as a type of child abuse.
This would have meant that state authorities could remove children from their parental home if they were made to have gay conversion therapy.
In July, Delaware became the fourteenth state to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy.
Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Washington DC have already banned gay ‘cure’ therapy.
Maine would have become the fourteenth state to outlaw the practice, but despite being voted through the state’s House and Senate, Republican Governor Paul LePage vetoed the bill.
In the UK, meanwhile, gay conversion therapy remains legal.
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However, prime minister Theresa May recently pledged to outlaw gay ‘cure’ therapy in the government’s new LGBT action plan, saying she was “shocked” to find out it is still used in this country.
The action plan was published following the results of the government’s national LGBT survey, which had more than 100,000 respondents.
The research found that seven percent of LGBT people had been offered or undergone gay ‘cure’ therapy.
May said conversion therapy has “no place in modern Britain,” adding: “We are determined as a Government to end it. We are going to consult on the best way of doing that and we’re very clear that this is something that does not have a place in our society.”