Massachusetts has become the latest state to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors. Monday night, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill into law making the ban on the disproven method effective immediately.
The bill was initially passed in the Massachusetts House in March in an overwhelming 147-8 vote. As written, it prevents all licensed therapists from the practice wherein the focus is changing a person's gender or sexuality. There is no scientific basis for the tactics.
"Ultimately, we all know this bill will ensure that children receive therapy in a healthy, evidence-based, and medically sound manner, not one which fosters an atmosphere of self-hate, prejudice, and intolerance," said Representative Kay Khan, who authored the legislation, at the time of the House voteaccording to WBUR. "Massachusetts has always been a trailblazer in advancing civil rights and eliminating discrimination in healthcare settings for the LGBTQ community. This bill is a necessary extension of these historic commitments." The Senate passed the bill in March. A version of the legislation had passed in 2018 but missed the deadline to have it signed by Baker.
The move makes Massachusetts the 16th state to ban conversion therapy in the nation. It follows states like New York, Connecticut, California, Illinois, and New Mexico. In March, U.S. territory Puerto Rico implemented the ban as well via an executive order by its governor.
Representative Sean Maloney introduced legislation in late March that would restrict conversion therapy on a federal level in some ways, by prohibiting the usage of Medicaid funding for the supposed treatment.