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Gov. Baker Signs Into Law Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at the State House in Boston on Jan. 23 (Steven Senne/AP)
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker at the State House in Boston on Jan. 23 (Steven Senne/AP)

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday signed into law a ban on conversion therapy for minors.

The conversion therapy ban Baker signed Monday afternoon prohibits state-licensed health care providers from advertising or engaging in "sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with a patient who is less than 18 years of age."

The bill passed both branches last session, but lawmakers did not get it to Baker before the clock ran out on the formal legislating calendar for the year.

Passing the bill was one of the first major policy actions the Legislature took in the new session. Both chambers of the state Legislature overwhelmingly passed versions of the bill. Conversion therapy for minors is illegal in 14 other states and the District of Columbia.

Opponents like the Massachusetts Family Institute said the law could impact the ability of religious leaders and others to counsel people who seek their help.

"We thank the governor and legislative leaders for moving so quickly to protect LGBTQ youth from this fraudulent treatment, which is both cruel and barbaric," Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, told the News Service. "The bottom line of it is, being LGBTQ is not an illness, it's not a disease that needs to be cured, and these treatments are tantamount to child abuse, and we're thrilled they're finally going to ban the practice."

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