Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker signs law banning gay cure therapy
Massachusetts has become the 16th state to enact a ban on gay conversion therapy, as Republican governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law.
On Monday (April 8), Baker signed a bill that outlaws “sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts [for] patients less than 18 years of age.”
The bill had passed through the state legislature with overwhelming support, winning backing from the House by a vote of 147-8 and passing through the Senate by a vote of 34-0.
Number of States banning gay cure therapy set to rise to 17
It makes Massachusetts the 16th state to enact a ban, with a 17th law pending in Colorado, where a bill to ban the practice is currently awaiting the signature of the state’s gay governor Jared Polis.
Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director, said: “This legislation grants LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts a new freedom to live authentically, free from fear of the debunked and potentially life-threatening practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’.
“We thank and applaud Gov. Baker and the Massachusetts General Assembly for making these protections law — and congratulate them in taking this momentous bipartisan step forward in ensuring Massachusetts is a safe and affirming state for all LGBTQ children.”
Baker previously said he would support a ban, telling reporters: “If a conversion therapy bill gets to my desk and we don’t see any other issues with it, it’s something we’d be inclined to support.”
His move breaks with Republicans in other states who have opposed legislation on the issue.
The Republican Governor of Maine, Paul LePage, vetoed a conversion therapy ban in July 2018, sparking anger from LGBT+ rights campaigners.
The Massachusetts law has earned praised by Chelsea Clinton.
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She tweeted: “Good news!! Thank you Massachusetts. Only 34 more states to go to ban conversion therapy, a form of child abuse.”
Anti-LGBT activists have vowed to challenge Massachusetts gay cure ban
However, anti-LGBT activists from the Massachusetts Family Institute have vowed to bring a legal challenge against the law.
The group claimed: “This law is an extraordinarily invasive assault on the rights of parents to raise their children and a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech for the counselors whose help they seek.”
Massachusetts Family Institute president Andrew Beckwith added: “MFI will pursue legal action against the Counseling Ban to defend the constitutional rights of parents and counselors in our Commonwealth.”