Summary: The No Conversion Therapy for Minors Act prohibits any mental health or child care practitioner from engaging in therapy designed to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of an individual under the age of 18.
Based on Maryland SB 1028 (enacted 2018)
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “No Conversion Therapy for Minors Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:
1) Contemporary science recognizes that being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) is part of the natural spectrum of human identity and is not a disease, a disorder, or an illness.
2) The Pan American Health Organization also noted that reparative therapies “lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people.”
3) The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists further stated in 2014 its belief that sexual orientation is not “something that needs to be `fixed’ or `changed'” and provided as its rationale for this position that “[r]eparative therapy (for minors, in particular) is often forced or non-consensual,” has “been proven harmful to minors,” and that “[t]here is no scientific evidence supporting the success of these interventions.”
4) Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual orientation face especially serious health risks.
5) In a study published in 2009 in the journal “Pediatrics,” lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs, and 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse when compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.
6) [Insert state name] has a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors, including LGBT youth, and in protecting minors against exposure to serious harm caused by sexual orientation change efforts.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect the physical and mental health of minors by prohibiting the practice of conversion therapy.
SECTION 3. CONVERSION THERAPY FOR MINORS PROHBITION
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) DEFINITIONS—In this section:
1) “Conversion therapy” means a practice or treatment by a mental health or child care practitioner that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “Conversion therapy” includes any effort to change the behavioral expression or an individual’s sexual orientation, change gender expression, or eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender. “Conversion therapy” does not include a practice by a mental health or child care practitioner that:
a) Provides acceptance, support, and understanding or the facilitation of coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and
b) Does not seek to change sexual orientation or gender identity.
2) “Mental health or child care practitioner” means a practitioner licensed or certified under [Title XXX] and any other practitioner licensed or certified under this article who is authorized to provide counseling by the practitioner’s licensing or certifying board.
(B) PROHIBTION ON CONVERSION THERAPY
1) A mental health or child care practitioner may not engage in conversion therapy with an individual who is a minor.
2) Mental health or child care practitioner who engaged in conversion therapy with an individual who is a minor shall be considered to have engaged in unprofessional conduct and shall be subject to discipline by the mental health or child care practitioner’s licensing or certifying board.
(C) STATE FUNDING
1) No state funds may be used for the purpose of:
a) Conducting, or referring an individual to receive, conversion therapy;
b) Providing health coverage for conversion therapy; or
c) Providing a grant to or contracting with any entity that conducts or refers an individual to receive therapy.
2) The Department shall adopt regulations necessary to implement this section.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This Act shall become effective on July 1, 20XX.