Maryland House of Delegates approves bill outlawing conversion therapy


Graphic by Charlotte Alden.

By Sydney Miller

The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill April 4 outlawing forced conversion therapy for youth in Maryland with a vote of 95-27.

Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to change the sexuality of LGBTQ+ individuals. The therapy is often used on children without their consent.

Students in the LGBTQ+ community celebrated the bill’s passing as a necessary step towards full equality for LGBTQ+ youth.

“Conversion therapy is cruel and disgusting,” junior Ana Sampiano, a member of pride club, said. “It implies that homosexuality is something to be cured, not accepted. The passing of this bill, although comforting and a step in the right direction, reminds me of how behind we are when it comes to LGBT+ rights.”

Sophomore Skylar Huebner said she believes the bill will help people understand that there are areas in Maryland where the LGBTQ+ community is discriminated against.

“A lot of people think that conversion therapy and things like that don’t happen anymore, or it was something that just happened in the 1900s, but the reality is, we are still having to pass laws to stop it,” Hubener said. “I have friends who are LGBTQ that live in Southern Maryland whose families are really religious, some of which are homophobic and transphobic, and the tiniest possibility that my friends might be subjected to conversion therapy is terrifying.”

Del. Meagan Simonaire — whose father, a state senator, voted against the bill just days earlier — was adamant about her devotion to protecting gay youth, based on her own experience identifying as bisexual.

“This issue is not about Republicans or Democrats nor conservatives or liberals,” Simonaire said on the steps of the statehouse prior to the vote. “It’s not about religious values. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about the fact that it’s impossible to fix something that was never broken in the first place.”