- FreeState Lobby Day
Please sign up for Lobby Day in Annapolis with FreeState Justice on March 13th starting at 9:30 by clicking here. If you cannot make it, PLEASE do steps 1, 3 and 4. At the Lobby Day, we will speak directly to the representatives that will be making this revolutionary decision for Maryland!
- PHONE CALLS TO COMMITTEE CHAIRS
Please call the Committee Chairs of the Committees that are reviewing the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (a summary of the bill is below) and urge them to protect Maryland children – bring the bill to a vote and pass it!
• Senator Joan Carter Conway 410-841-3145 “Senator, I urge you to protect children in Maryland and bring SB1028 to a vote and pass it in your committee because Conversion Therapy is….”
• Delegate Pendergast 410-841-3139, “I urge you to protect children in Maryland and bring HB902 to a vote and pass it in your committee because Conversion Therapy is….”
There calls are CRUCIAL!
STEP 3: Share This Information with Everyone You Know
Please share all of this information with your friends, family and neighbors. The more support this bill gets, the more likely it is to pass.
Summary of Bill
YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH PROTECTION ACT
The Problem: So-called “conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts” or “reparative therapy,” is a range of practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices are based on the false premise that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) is a mental illness that needs to be cured, a theory which has been rejected by every major medical and mental health organization. There is no credible evidence that conversion therapy can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. To the contrary, research has shown that conversion therapy poses dangerous health risks for LGBTQ youth. Use of these harmful practices have been demonstrated to lead to numerous mental health issues, including but not limited to severe depression, anxiety, decreased self-esteem, substance abuse, homelessness, and suicidality.
California, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia have enacted laws or regulations to protect minors from being subjected to conversion therapy by state-licensed mental health providers. Additionally, a growing number of municipalities have enacted similar protections, including cities and counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, and Arizona.
Conversion therapy has been universally discredited by the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and every other mainstream medical and mental health organization. In addition, in an October 2015 report entitled “Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth,” the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) concluded that “interventions aimed at a fixed outcome, such as gender conformity or heterosexual orientation, including those aimed at changing gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation are coercive, can be harmful, and should not be part of behavioral health treatment.”
The Youth Mental Health Protection Act would add Maryland to the growing number of states that protect LGBTQ youth from the abusive and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy.
This bill would:
• Prevent state-licensed mental health care providers from engaging in conversion therapy with youth below the age of 18.
• Expressly classify the provision of conversion therapy to minors by state-licensed mental health care providers as unprofessional conduct subject to discipline by the relevant licensing entity.
• Protect parents from being taken advantage of by conversion therapy practitioners by making it clear that these practices are ineffective and harmful to their children.
This bill does not:
• Restrict any protected First Amendment speech, as it only applies to discredited treatments by state-
licensed mental health care professionals.
• Apply to clergy or religious instructors not acting pursuant to a state-issued professional license.
• Apply to counseling that provides assistance to a person undergoing gender transition, or to counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of a person or facilitates a person’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development.