Massachusetts Bans Conversion Therapy

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law after it passed with overwhelming support in the House and Senate.

Massachusetts has banned the debunked and harmful practice of conversion therapy.

The bill was signed into law on Monday by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker (below), preventing health care providers from attempting to change anyone's sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling if they are under 18.

MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images / Contributor

BOSTON, MA. - NOVEMBER 6: Gov. Charlie Baker, who is running for re-election, greets supporters outside the polling location at Holy Name Parish School in West Roxbury on November 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

The legislation passed with overwhelming majorities in the Democratically-controlled House and Senate before reaching Baker's desk. Massachusetts is now the 16th state to ban conversion therapy, along with Washington, D.C.

"Being LGBTQ is not a disease that requires a cure," said Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Coalition to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors, in a statement last month. "These fraudulent treatments often lead patients to depression, substance abuse, self-harm and suicidality."

Massachusetts Family Institute President Andrew Beckwith said the group would challenge the ban in court, claiming it denies mental health treatment to sexually confused youth, and arguing it violates First Amendment free speech rights, reports NBC Boston.

Equality Massachusetts celebrated the news on Twitter, thanking the bill's supporters, including Rep. Kay Khan, Sen. Julian Cyr, Sen. Karen Spilka, and Rep. Bob DeLeo.