Maryland is very close to banning the discredited and harmful practice of conversion therapy on minors! We NEED just 1 more minute of your time! Please call Governor Hogan and ask him to SIGN SB1028!(410)974-3901
This legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed S.B.1028, the Youth Mental Health Protection Act. The bill now heads to Governor Hogan’s desk for his signature. Opponents are calling on the Governor to veto this bill. Governor Hogan has signaled that he would support this legislation, but he needs to hear from Marylanders that this bill is a priority!
The bill is straightforward, it has a basis of understanding that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a problem that needs fixing. It only prohibits licensed mental health professionals from providing conversion therapy, which is described by those subjected to it as “torture” and has been condemned by every major mental health, children’s health, and children’s advocacy organization. The opposition to this bill is telling lies about what the bill says and what the bill does.
Here is a portion of the misinformation they are spreading urging a veto from the Governor:
Will Maryland counselors and psychologists be prevented from helping children, pre-teen, and teen clients?
Will a new law be signed mandating that professional counselors may ONLY encourage young people struggling with their sexuality to fully embrace homosexuality, even if they would prefer other solutions? What about freedom of speech? What about freedom of religion?
Why is the government dictating what children can and cannot hear?
This bill now hinges on a veto from Governor Hogan. Thankfully, I met with Governor Hogan last week to talk about the significant problems with this bad bill. At the meeting, he asked for more information and is currently evaluating whether or not to veto the bill.
PLEASE be the VOICE of TRUTH, REASON and SUPPORT for families and children in Maryland. Contact Governor Hogan’s Office today and ask him to sign S.B. 1028 and protect our youth!
Call the Governor at 410-974-3901urge him to sign SB1028!
Also, please feel free to sign HRC’s petition here: https://act.hrc.org/page/22396/action/1?ea.tracking.id=em_adv_MD_0404
Or send Governor Hogan a message here: http://www.governor.maryland.gov/mail/
This legislation would not have been possible without the leadership of key sponsors in both chambers including Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Bonnie Cullison.
**Here is an excellent letter to Governor Hogan from one of our members:
Dear Governor Hogan:
I am writing to strongly urge you to sign the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (SB1028) that would protect vulnerable Maryland youth from the harmful practice of conversion therapy.
I understand that people who oppose this bill, including Senator Bryan Simonaire and Delegate Neil Parrott, have asserted that this bill would be harmful to youth and families.
Delegate Parrott has stated that the bill would “shut down freedom and force counselors to only counsel minors from a secular world view, where dissenters will be punished.”
This statement is completely false and inaccurate. SB1028 does not punish therapists who come from a pastoral or religious orientation. It simply prevents therapists from engaging in a practice that has been shown to be harmful and damaging to children as well as totally ineffective.
Delegate Parrott further asserts that this bill would prevent licensed therapists from talking to clients about issues related to sexuality, sexual orientation and sexual abuse. He asserts that the bill would unconstitutionally gag counselors from helping their clients. This is also completely false. This bill would actually protect some of the most vulnerable youth in Maryland from a therapy practice that is denounced by all the reputable medical and mental health organizations including the Maryland Psychological Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatricians.
SB 1028 does not prevent therapists from talking with their clients about any and all issues that the client needs to explore, including issues related to sexual trauma, sexual orientation and all aspects of their sexuality and gender identity. This bill simply would prevent therapists from having a pre-existing agenda that LGBTQ youth need to change their sexual orientation or gender identity from being LGBT to being heterosexual and gender conforming. Please remember that homosexuality is not a mental disorder, nor a condition that needs to be converted or repaired. As Delegate Meagan Simonaire eloquently stated, “what
what is not broken cannot be fixed.”
Delegate Parrott refuses to recognize the painful reality of conversion therapy which is that children do not seek conversion therapy for themselves. Children are not able to give informed consent for any type of mental health treatment. Children typically enter conversion therapy because their well intentioned parents believe that conversion therapy is a reputable and accepted practice that will “fix” their child. These parents do not know that conversion therapy is not an accepted mental health treatment. They do not know that it is a discredited, fraudulent and damaging practice that has been outlawed in eleven states and the District of Columbia. They do not know that all the mainstream and credible medical and mental health organizations have denounced it. They do not understand that being LGBT is not a lifestyle nor a condition that can be converted or changed.
Governor Hogan, I am very concerned that a small group of people who have a highly biased personal agenda against conversion therapy might sway you to veto a bill that was passed by a huge margin (95-27) in the state legislature. The senators and delegates that voted to support this bill heard hours of testimony and certainly thought carefully about the issues involved. All of the mainstream mental health and youth medical organizations support a ban on conversion therapy. Please do not allow a small group of voters to influence you (via inaccurate and false statements) to veto this important bill.
Abbie M Ellicott, PhD