Republican lawmaker claims outlawing gay cure therapy would also ban Jesus

A Republican state senator in Maryland has claimed that placing a ban on gay cure therapy would block Jesus from preaching in the state.

A growing number of US states are adopting laws to outlaw the practise of gay ‘cure’ therapy on minors, but debates on the bills still largely fall on party lines – with Democrats in favour and Republicans opposed.

A bill cleared the state senate in Maryland this week – but not before members of the GOP railed against the move.

In a speech on the floor of the chamber, state Sen. Bryan Simonaire claimed the bill would lead to persecution against Christians.

He said: “The definition is so expansive this bill could revoke someone’s license and livelihood by a simple conversation.

“I wonder if Jesus would have been banned if he had been licensed in Maryland.”

He also insisted that “I don’t think [conversion therapy] is abuse in every case”.

SB1028 was introduced in the Maryland State Senate by Senator Richard Madaleno and cosponsors include Senator Bill Ferguson, Senator Guy Guzzone, Senator Cheryl Kagan, Senator Susan Lee, Senator Roger Manno, Senator Paul Pinsky, Senator Craig Zucker, Senator Will Smith, and Senator Ronald Young.

Connecticut, California, Nevada, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington all have passed laws outlawing the practise for minors.

“We thank the state senators who voted to protect LGBTQ youth from so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse. “This abusive and inhumane practice has no basis in science and is uniformly rejected by every major mental health organization in the country. We are calling on the Maryland House of Delegates to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk for his signature.”

“This is a step forward for an important piece of legislation that protects LGBTQ youth from harmful and coercive practices,” said FreeState Justice Executive Director Mark Procopio.

“We hope the House of Delegates will move quickly to make this law. Maryland’s LGBTQ youth deserve strong protections under state law. Prohibiting these practices moves us closer to that goal.”

Experts overwhelmingly agree that attempts to cure sexuality are futile, misguided, and often extremely harmful. Attempts to force teens to repress their sexuality has been linked to depression, self-harm and even suicide.

Outside of the US, performing gay cure therapy on minors is illegal in Switzerland, Malta, Taiwan, two Canadian provinces, and the Australian state of Victoria.

The UK government has also said it is considering a ban.

The European Parliament earlier this month voted to condemn gay ‘cure’ therapy and urged member countries to ban the harmful practice.

The EU body voted by 435 to 109 to adopt text calling on member states to outlaw the discredited practice.

It says: “[The European Parliament] welcomes initiatives prohibiting LGBTI conversion therapies and banning the pathologisation of trans identities and urges all Member States to adopt similar measures that respect and uphold the right to gender identity and gender expression”.

It is the first time the Parliament has made the specific disavowal of conversion therapies.

The vote came on an amendment to the Parliament’s annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, which was later adopted.

The Intergroup’s Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP noted that only a small number of EU member countries “have explicitly banned LGBTI conversion therapies” to date.

The MEP continued: “The UN Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Human Rights Committee have already condemned the practice of conversion therapy in several countries.”