Massachusetts’ Republican Governor Charlie Baker on Monday (8 April) signed a bill banning gay conversion therapy for minors in the state.
It became the 16th state in the US to ban the practice. Washington DC and Puerto Rico have also outlawed conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy attempts to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity via psychological or spiritual means. It has no basis in evidential science.
Massachusetts’ ban prohibits licensed therapists from subjecting minors to the practice. But, adults can still access this type of therapy if they so choose.
Last month, both houses of the Massachusetts’ congress passed a bill banning conversion therapy.
In fact, the Senate approved the bill by a 34-0 vote.
Most medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and more, condemn the practice.
Conversion therapy is shown to have detrimental effects on people, including mental health problems. It also causes an increase in suicidal thoughts.
But, the UCLA’s Williams Institute found last year that more than 20,000 teens will face conversion therapy before adulthood.
Several states have already passed bills banning the practice on youth. And several more are in the process of voting on such bills. One of the most recent states is Colorado.
LGBTI groups and rights activists on Monday also welcomed the move. Human Rights Campaign’s Chad Griffin thanked Baker ‘for standing on the right side of history!’