AUGUSTA, Maine (BP) — Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Wednesday (May 29) that reportedly prohibits so-called “conversion therapy” for minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.
The law defines conversion therapy as “any practice or treatment that seeks or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” but it says the definition does not include “any practice or treatment that provides acceptance, support, and understanding to an individual.”
It is unclear who may determine what constitutes “acceptance, support, and understanding.” The law specifically mentions “marriage and family therapists” and “pastoral counselors” on the list of licensed professionals who cannot provide such therapy to anyone under the age of 18.
“This bill would equate sound Biblical counseling with torture and abuse under the name of conversion therapy,” the Christian Civic League of Maine said on its website.
Although the bill does not explicitly equate conversion therapy with child abuse, it places it in the same section as abuse as grounds for revoking a professional counselor’s license.
Maine joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia in banning the therapy.