Maine's Republican governor has vetoed a bill banning gay 'cure' therapy for minors.
Last month, lawmakers in the US state voted for the bill seeking to ban gay 'cure' therapy for minors. However, state governor Paul LePage blocked the law from passing this week.
In a statement, LePage claimed that passing the law would be "a threat to an individual's religious liberty".
He said: "Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment for their children from professionals who do not oppose the parents' own religious beliefs. No evidence has been presented during the many public meetings on this subject that indicate conversion therapy is being used by anyone, including licensed professionals, in the State of Maine."
LePage has since been criticised by LGBT activists including Marty Rouse, the Human Rights Campaign's national field director, who said: "Governor LePage's shameful decision to veto this life-saving legislation leaves Maine's LGBTQ youth at risk of being subjected to a practice that amounts to nothing less than child abuse.
"These crucial protections are supported by a bipartisan majority and have been signed into law in a growing number of other states by both Democratic and Republican governors - including by the Republican governor in neighbouring New Hampshire mere weeks ago.
"With this inexcusable decision, Governor LePage has become the only governor in the nation to veto legislation protecting young people from this abuse, solidifying his place in history's hall of shame. HRC calls on the Maine legislature to override this veto and to demonstrate to the state's LGBTQ youth that their lives and well-being are worth protecting."
Gay 'cure' therapy has been banned in several US states including New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington and Hawaii.
Meanwhile, the controversial practice will be banned in Maryland from October 1 and in New Hampshire from January 1, 2019.