Maine House and Senate At Odds Over Gender Confusion Legislation

4/17/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

A bill fixing the ban on any language not affirming gender confusion — which passed in the State House last Friday — was tabled in the State Senate Tuesday.

The tabling was a last minute effort to allow a confused member of the Republican caucus to change his vote.

Maine First Media sources inside the State Senate expect the amended bill — banning only conversion therapy using extreme aversive methods — to be voted on and passed in the Senate Wednesday.

The Senate is not voting on the same bill that passed in the House. The House voted on the original bill sponsored by Democrat Rep. Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford. The Senate is voting on an amended version from Republican Rep. Susan Austin of Gray. The Christian Civic League of Maine provides the following comparison explaining the differences between the House and Senate versions.

Definition of Conversion Therapy

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill prohibits and defines conversion therapy as ANY attempt to reduce or eliminate same-sex attraction or gender confusion, including speech or talk therapy.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment prohibits and specifically defines conversion therapy as aversive methods (i.e., shock therapy, seclusion, ice baths, isolation, etc.) while protecting speech. 

Professional Licensure

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill states that any conversation that does anything but affirm sexual orientation or gender confusion could result in loss of license and/or civil action for fraud.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment would result in loss of license and/or civil action for fraud only in the case of aversive methods.

Clergy Exception

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill exempts clergy unless they are compensated and/or offer counseling outside of their congregation.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment has no clergy exception because no one, including clergy, should be allowed to practice aversive therapies.

Talk Therapy

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill equates simply talking about any possibility of change regarding sexual orientation or gender identity with torture and abuse.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment distinguishes between actual abuse (i.e., aversive therapies) and protected speech without diminishing parental rights, trampling on the First Amendment, or disregarding the separation of church and state.

Client/Clinician Privacy

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill allows the state to invade the privacy of client/clinician relationship.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment protects the privacy of client/clinician relationship and respects the role of professional ethics boards and commissions to regulate themselves.

Statement of Legislative Findings and Intent

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill would be the final word on the subject due to its Statement of Legislative Findings and Intent. The statement also prohibits marketing which would include writing and speaking at conferences.
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment has no such provision.

Maine Care Reimbursement

  • Rep. Fecteau’s bill prohibits Maine Care reimbursement for conversion therapy administered to minors with conversion therapy defined as all therapies (including speech).
  • Rep. Austin’s amendment prohibits Maine Care reimbursement for conversion therapy administered to minors with conversion therapy defined as, aversive therapies not including talk therapies or speech.

Maine First Project President, Rep. Larry Lockman was a guest on the George Hale and Ric Tyler Show on WVOM Tuesday morning. The Republican from Amherst outlined exactly how the Rep. Fecteau bill stomps on the 1st Amendment.

“Politicians in Augusta agreed to turn loose the thought-police to monitor private conversations between therapists and their patients,” Rep. Lockman said.

Maine First Media highly recommends listening to the interview.

If the Austin amended version of the bill passes in the Senate Wednesday, the ball will go back to the House’s court. If the two bodies can’t agree on the same version of the bill, the legislation will die between bodies.

Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, maintains transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment.  According to Dr. McHugh, sex change is “biologically impossible,” and people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

41% of all transgenders attempt suicide at some point in their life.

Further evidence shows, 80% of children who are confused about their gender at a young age, grow comfortable with their bodies and no longer experience that same confusion later in life.

Maine First Media will continue following this bill as it makes its way through the legislature.