Paul LePage

For the first time in the United States a governor has vetoed a conversion therapy ban. That governor is Paul LePage of Maine. Politico once dubbed LePage (a Tea Partier) “America’s craziest governor.”

Making matters worse, the legislature lacked the votes to override the veto. LePage claimed that the language of the ban was too broad and that it would prohibit counseling an individual at his or her request. He went on to claim that the bill impinged on religious liberty which is usually code for the liberty to discriminate against LGBT people. LePage is correct about one thing. The bill would prevent people who want the “therapy” for getting it.

That is the very point. Kids express a desire for the crackpot therapy because parents put relentless pressure on the child. Conversion therapy does not work and is potentially harmful. After enough shaming, aversion therapy and parental duress, the kid is likely to lie and claim to have been cured. One lie leads to additional lies. The entire family is harmed.

LePage has an obligation to protect children. If a child wanted a lobotomy would anyone assert that he was entitled to the procedure? LePage also indulged in some double-talk:

Because the standard of practice for these professionals already prohibits any practice or therapy that would amount to physical or mental abuse, what we are really trying to regulate are the private consultative conversations between a licensed provider and a client,

Were that true then there would be no reason to veto the measure. Ultimately LePage is considering a Senate run and he wants the support of the Christian conservatives who control the Republican party. They were also the hypocrites who put Donald Trump into the Oval Office. LePage also opposes reproductive choice.

A number of Republican governors have signed conversion therapy bans into law. These include: former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Bruce Rauner, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.