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Massachusetts becomes 16th US state to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapy for minors

Another battle won - but the war is far from over.

By Will Stroude

Massachusetts has become the 16th US state to ban the gay ‘conversion’ therapy for minors.

Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill banning health care professionals from subjecting anyone under the age of 18 to the abusive practise on Monday (8 April), after legilsation was passed by state lawmakers in the House by 147-8 votes last month.

Gay ‘conversion’ therapy will remain legal for adults, and the law will not prevent religious leaders from offering unofficial ‘counselling’ to LGBTQ children.

Medical bodies have repeatedly highlighted the harm in attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation through counselling or painful aversion therapy, while recent Hollywood films including Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron post have helped shine a spotlight on the practise over the last year.

Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker signed a bill banning gay ‘conversion’ therapy for minors on Monday (8 April)


Since California became the first US state to ban ‘conversion’ therapy for minors in 2012, a further 15 states have followed suit: New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York.

Of the 16, only New York bans ‘conversion’ therapy for both children and adults.

Other US territories to band the practise include District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, while 50 other US counties and local municipalties have passed their own legislation outlawing the practise, including cities like Miami, Philadeliphia, Tampa and Denver.

At least 17 more US states currently have bills pending to ban gay ‘covnersion’ therapy for minors, including the Southern state of Georgia, which filed its own legislation last month.