Hundreds of people gathered at the State House Wednesday to oppose a bill that would ban conversion therapy.
House Bill – 140 would prevent state-licensed therapists from attempting to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Supporters argued that the practice has been outlawed in 15 states, which have deemed conversion therapy ‘abusive’
At Wednesday’s demonstration, opponents of the bill delivered petitions to the governor’s office to advocate for the conversion counseling methods and even gave examples of when it’s been effective.
“A year ago we had a young man from Springfield come out here, he had struggled with same-sex attraction that he didn’t want earlier in life, he acted out on that and eventually he got counseling like counseling this law would ban, and he’s now living the life he wants to live,” Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute said.
The Family Institute said the bill prevents professionals from assessing what is in the best interest of the child and could deter parents from seeking mental health help for their children.
Supporters of the ban said the legislation excludes religious institutions and does not apply to anyone over the age of 18, but members of the family institute said they did not see any language like that included in the bill’s text.
The bill passed in the House and is now headed to the Senate, and if it passes there, Governor Charlie Baker said he’s likely to support it.