Gov. Janet Mills said the “harmful, widely discredited practice” has “no place” in her state while signing the bill into law.
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine banned gay conversion therapy for minors on Wednesday, joining more than a dozen other states that have outlawed the controversial practice.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill Wednesday, and it will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns next month.
onversion therapy aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the new law, professionals, including school psychologists, pharmacy technicians and social workers, who have advertised, offered or administered conversion therapy to a child could face discipline from licensing boards.
Maine joins 16 other states and the District of Columbia that have banned the practice. Supporters decry it as a harmful and note the American Psychological Association opposes the therapy.
“Conversion therapy is a harmful, widely discredited practice that has no place in Maine,” Mills said. “By signing this bill into law today, we send an unequivocal message to young LGBTQ people in Maine and across the country: We stand with you, we support you, and we will always defend your right to be who you are.”
A law against conversion therapy was signed recently in Massachusetts, while states including North Carolina are considering such legislation this year.
“With this law, Maine is taking seriously its responsibility to ensure youth and parents who seek support are not subjected to fraudulent and dangerous practices under the guise of therapy,” said Mary Bonauto, the Civil Rights Project director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders.
Maine’s former Republican governor vetoed a similar measure last year, but the bill has gained momentum this year under a Democratic-led Legislature. Republicans argued that the bill was unnecessary, while also contending that it would prevent parents from seeking religious counselors for their children.
“There have not been any recorded cases of this happening in Maine,” said state House Republicans spokesman John Bott.
Republicans failed to pass an amendment to exclude talk therapy and counseling from counting as conversion therapy.
Maine’s law exempts treatment that offers acceptance, support and understanding while being neutral on sexual orientation and gender identity.
New Jersey’s ‘profound regret’ trivializes an important issue.
By Mackubin Thomas Owens
This week, New Jersey became the first Northern state to apologize for slavery. The resolution expresses “profound regret … for the wrongs inflicted by slavery and its aftereffects in the United States….”
Slavery is indeed a terrible stain on America and there seems to be no harm in issuing such an apology. But New Jersey’s act trivializes an important issue and contributes to a misunderstanding of the principles upon which the United States was founded.
The fact is that no contrition today can match the eloquence – and atonement – represented by the many “honored dead” who “gave the last full measure of devotion” during the Civil War. Nor can it match the healing rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln.
New Jersey’s apology seems predicated on the common notion that America’s founding – and its history ever since – is unjust and racist. To be sure, there have been, and are now, far too many racist Americans, and, for a long time, US laws and policies perpetuated the inequality of the races. But the crucial, if rarely recognized, fact is that America’s founding principles repudiate racism and racial injustice.
Indeed, it is possible to criticize slavery only because of the creation of the United States, which was based on revolutionary principles now largely taken for granted. Before 1776, the governing principle of action in both domestic and international affairs was the one attributed to the ancient Athenians: “Questions of justice arise only between equals. As for the rest, the strong do what they will; the weak suffer what they must.” Slavery, which had existed from the dawn of human history, accords with this principle.
The US was founded on different principles: justice and equality. In the words of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal….” The meaning of this famous phrase is that no one person or group has the right to rule another without the consent of the latter.
This understanding of the Declaration is often rejected or ridiculed because many of the Founders held slaves. But these men compromised on slavery policy out of necessity, clearly understanding the contradictions between slavery and the nation’s guiding principles.
As Lincoln scholar Harry Jaffa has written: “It is not wonderful that a nation of slave-holders, upon achieving independence, failed to abolish slavery. What is wonderful, indeed miraculous, is that a nation of slave-holders founded a new nation on the proposition that ‘all men are created equal,’ making the abolition of slavery a moral and political necessity.”
In the 18th century, the Founders could go only so far toward justice. As Lincoln explained: “They meant simply to declare the right, so that the enforcement of it might follow as fast as circumstances should permit.”
Lincoln’s view of the Founders is supported by the most vociferous defenders of slavery, including South Carolina Senator John Calhoun, who said in 1848: “[the proposition “all men are created equal”] as now understood, has become the most false and dangerous of all political errors…. We now begin to experience the danger of admitting so great an error to have a place in the Declaration of Independence.”
Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, asserted in 1861 that the Confederate Constitution would correct the error Calhoun identified. “Our new government,” he said, “is founded upon exactly the opposite idea … that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery … is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.”
Lincoln contended that the Founders believed they had placed the institution of slavery on the road to extinction. But as the tragic events of mid-century were to prove, they were wrong. It took a bloody civil war to extirpate slavery finally, to purify America’s “republican robe.”
At his second inaugural, Lincoln attributed the Civil War to the will of God, “as the woe due to those by whom the offense [of slavery] came…. Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that his mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still must it be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’ “
What apology today could compare with that?
New Jersey has expressed regret for its role in slavery. But several years ago, the state rejected a bill that would have required students to recite a portion of the Declaration of Independence. That’s too bad, because the more substantial work of atoning for slavery lies in correcting the false philosophy that supported it – and affirming America’s founding principles that rejected it.
Today’s historic vote is a major milestone for equality and sends a powerful and profound message to LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ youth, that the U.S. House has their backs,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “No one’s rights should depend on which side of a state or city line they live on, and today we took a giant step forward in our journey toward full equality. This historic victory would not have been possible without the millions of LGBTQ people and our allies who organized, mobilized and turned out to elect a pro-equality majority in 2018. Now, we will take our fight to the U.S. Senate and turn up the pressure on Leader McConnell to allow a vote on this crucial legislation. And we won’t slow down in working to turn out the 10 million eligible LGBTQ voters and our millions more allies to elect a pro-equality president in 2020 who will sign the Equality Act into law.
Chad Griffin, HRC President
I spent time working on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign at the end of 2015 to help pass the Equality Act which would prohibit discrimination in housing, education and employment against LGBT people in 36 states which currently have no protection. The Equality Act is currently before Congress.
One college student shared with me that he signed up as a member of HRC because he has two moms. He shared that he is a well loved man because of it.
I was touched by one heart breaking story in particular. One woman shared that she had a friend whose son was gay. His family ostracized him for being gay so he left home with no further contact with them and perhaps felt pressured to leave his faith behind too. He died at age 26 from AIDS. Perhaps he died of famished affections due to a lack of love and acceptance from his family and church. But this same women also told me she has a gay son but she loves him unconditionally and their family welcomes him. As a result, he is now happy, healthy and well adjusted which demonstrates that love is the cure as stated by Sir Elton John.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y. (above), shown applauding during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February, was one of eight House Republicans to vote for the Equality Act on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
The following from the pen of the Rev. Mary Baker G. Eddy appeared in the New York World of December 30, 1900. It was written at the request of the editors, and was one of upwards of sixty replies received from prominent thinkers of the world, both men and women, in answer to the query, What is the chief danger, social or political, that confronts the new century?
“To my sense the most imminent dangers confronting the coming century are robbing people of life and liberty under warrant of the Scriptures, the rights of politics and human power, industrial slavery, insufficient freedom of honest competition, ritual, creed, and trusts in place of the Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
The actors and husbands discuss how their rights and protections as LGBTQ Americans can change state by state. The Equality Act would add LGBTQ protections to existing civil rights law. Text EQUALITY ACT to 472472 to become a Citizen Co-Sponsor today.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson has joined a growing chorus of celebs in pushing for passage of the Equality Act, a comprehensive anti-discrimination bill seen by many as the LGBTQ rights movement’s top legislative priority.
The “Modern Family” star and his husband, Justin Mikita, share their experiences in a new video by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBTQ advocacy group. The video was released first to HuffPost on Friday.
“I’m from New Mexico. A lot of my rights are secured there,” Ferguson says in the clip, seen above. “But if I traveled right next door to Arizona, I could be kicked out of a restaurant for being gay. I could be denied a mortgage for being gay. I could be fired from a job for being gay, and all that’s within a matter of miles.”
“No one’s rights should be determined by what side of the state line they’re on,” he adds.
There is currently no federal law that extends discrimination protections to LGBTQ people nationwide. Anti-discrimination laws vary by state and even locality, a problem the Equality Act aims to fix.
In an email to HuffPost, HRC President Chad Griffin praised Ferguson and Mikita for being “key voices and partners” in the LGBTQ rights movement, citing their “outspoken visibility” and “longtime activism.”
“Both in the arts and in the public eye, Jesse and Justin are breaking down barriers for our community,” Griffin said. “It’s time for Congress to take action and pass legislation providing clear, comprehensive nationwide non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.”
My grandson took this awesome video (view at end of post) of a spring nest of birdlings waiting to be fed. That is, until they aren’t waiting at all! They can’t see and they really don’t care if it is mom or dad or my grandson – whoever is there, FEED ME! In that moment, worm in beak or in hand, everyone is a needed caregiver, everyone is a mom!
As you walk through your day, who (or what) is calling out for mother-love? This is the compassionate, unhesitating care that meets the need without considering whether you are able, or they are worthy. Are you prepared to share from your deep well of spiritual abundance, placed in your heart by the loving Parent of us all? Placed there by the Creator to nurture you – and for you to nurture others.
When you are consciously aware that you already embody fully all the spiritual qualities of good, such as intelligence, kindness, generosity and courage, to respond to any cry for help then you will also have tangibly what is necessary, right at hand. This is inherent, always-right mother-love – not gender specific – from anyone and for everyone…for good.
Here is something to think about: every problem on the planet is pretty much a relationship problem! Is our relationship with our neighbor – at work, in the community or church – appreciating, valuing and loving like a mother?
The birdlings know that whoever cares for them is their mother. Let’s all be the best moms and care for every neighbor we have!
“…a mother’s love behind words has no language; it may give no material token, but lives steadily on, through time and circumstance, as part and paramount portion of her being.” – Mary Baker Eddy
Ellen welcomed Matthew Easton, who recently graduated from Brigham Young University as Valedictorian. During his commencement speech, he bravely came out as gay at the famously conservative school. He sat down with Ellen to talk about what made him decide to make the announcement in front of so many people, and his post-graduation plans.
Commentary: Ignore those shouting from the ‘great and spacious building’
Two years ago, a distant relative I had not met before contacted me on Facebook because of my name.
My last name, uncommon in the United States, is uniquely concentrated in Utah because of immigration to the territory during the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After some conversation, we established our relational link through my great-grandparents, who owned a grocery store in the Uintah Basin during the 1960s. I didn’t hear from her again until January of this year.
On Jan. 19, I became engaged to the most remarkable man I have ever met. We exchanged rings on the very mountain overlooking Phoenix that we had summited a year earlier on our first date. Like any engaged couple, we were overwhelmed with emotion and unfettered joy as we anticipated the joining of two families and the prospect of building a life together.
Later that day, I shared this event to our friends and family on Facebook with the modest announcement: “This afternoon Matt and I hiked a mountain and asked for each other’s hand in marriage.”
One of the first comments was from this long lost relative who posted, “That is so sick.” At first I thought this was her way of saying, “Congratulations!” However, my heart sank upon clarification that her “sick” meant mentally ill.
It was such an out-of-place comment hurled through the Internet at a member of her distant family on such a happy occasion.
Last week, I saw the same thing happen to Matt Easton on social media, only on a much larger scale. Matt courageously came out in his Brigham Young University valedictorian speech, in such a savvy and powerful way. It was electrifying when he declared, “I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
Successful heterosexual men and women often cite their own sexuality in speeches, acknowledging the support of their spouse or children. Matt’s speech was a pivotal moment in BYU history, where a gay man could also stand and declare that part of who he is, a gay son of God, contributes to the accomplishments in life he is proud to own.
As news outlets reported this event, the social media comments began. While many were positive, a great many were shockingly mean and exclusionary. I won’t highlight the nasty remarks, but they came in waves from the Facebook sites of the Deseret News, LDS Living, the Daily Herald, and other publications along the Wasatch Front.
These commenters are our friends and neighbors. And, regrettably, on social media, these friends and neighbors pointed their fingers and mocked a young gay valedictorian, just because he delivered a BYU-approved speech at his commencement. It was a surreal moment as the comment sections became a “great and spacious building,” as spoken of in Lehi’s vision in the Book of Mormon, full of detractors scoffing at LGBTQ members of the church pressing onward towards the tree of life.
The fruit of the tree of life is the love of God. When the prophet Lehi tasted this fruit, the thing he wanted most was to share it with his family. LGBTQ individuals do not reside in a vacuum. They are part of a family and a part of a home.
Inclusive homes know just as much as Lehi did that the love of God is desirable above all other fruit. These families are no longer persuaded to leave their LGBTQ children and siblings behind. And as they press forward together, the sad commentary is that they are met with self-righteous and snide remarks flung from a foundationless gallery of cowardly spectators.
This is unfortunate.
We are now living in a home-centered, church-supported era. And as these wonderful, supportive LGBTQ inclusive homes point the way to health and eternal safety, they are worthy of all our support.
To Matt Easton, I applaud your courage and your journey. I support you and I support your home, a home which you so vulnerably shared a small part of in your speech to a world of strangers. I am filled with much hope and optimism by you and by all my LGBTQ siblings who are unashamedly themselves. You do not need the approval of those calling to you from the great and spacious building.
Why do you think your books are so appealing to so many people?
I write about the struggles, defeats and victories we all experience in a wide variety of situations, and I think people get caught up in the stories and identify with them and the characters because they see themselves in them. And often, readers find hope in what I write, that they, too, will survive whatever they’re going through.
… sometimes I do some religious reading, to clear my head, or help me find the answer to some problem I’m struggling to find a solution to, or an answer that eludes me. It’s not for everyone, I realize, but it helps me to problem solve when I’m really stumped.
And among the papers, I found some things that had inspired me and I was happy to find. And I thought I’d share two of them with you here, about love, and life.
The first one was written by Mary Baker Eddy: “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power”. I like that one a lot.
In my earliest days on the streets, on a night when several disturbing-looking people ran up to me, I pulled myself together and thought, If Jesus came to me looking like this man, would I run? Or would I stand right where I am, face him, and embrace him? I forced myself to see Jesus in him every time I saw someone who scared me, and eventually I felt blessed, not frightened. And the people who seemed so upsetting to me melted into kind people, who welcomed us into their world. That vision worked for me.
A Gift of Hope
Helping The Homeless
April 29, 2019
It’s a particularly special day for me because it’s the birthday of my late son Nick. It was a perfect day for a birthday. I invite friends to dinner every year on that day, just close friends, for a quiet dinner, to remember his birthday and what a very special sweet boy he was. I loved the fact that he was born on May Day. And we’ll have lily of the valley on the table at dinner.
Thank you for sharing how you are going to spend Nick’s birthday with us. I wanted to share a simple Bible passage with you because it brought me healing over losing a family member to suicide. I needed to know that regardless of how he died [suicide] that he was still loved and safe as he continued on his journey. Below is the passage that set me free. I shared it at a Wednesday night testimony meeting not too long ago. Perhaps it will bring you comfort and peace on Nick’s birthday too. May it bring others who lost a loved one to suicide regardless of their denomination. May God bless us all.
Bible, King James Version
Rom.8 Verses 38 to 39
 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Several articles and editorials have been written explaining why homosexuals cannot be admitted to membership. One of these I wrote myself, the title: “Homosexuality Can Be Healed.” All I can say in defense of myself for writing it is that it was based on information I thought was authentic, but which later was disproved … If I were to write another article on the subject now, I would probably entitle it, “We’re ALL God’s Children.”
Former Editor of the CSPS [Christian Science Publishing Society], C.S.B.
“I just want to take this moment to say there are still 34 states that have no laws banning conversion therapy ― 34. And on top of that, 58% of our LGBTQ population live in those states,” Reynolds told the star-studded crowd, accepting the Top Rock Artist award with his bandmates.
“This can change, but it’s gonna take all of us taking to our state legislation, pushing forward laws to protect our LGBTQ youth,” he added, noting a surge in depression and suicide rates among those who have undergone conversion ― otherwise known as “ex-gay” or “reparative” ― therapy. “It’s not working, needs to change.”
The discredited practice of conversion therapy is aimed at ridding an individual of same-sex attraction, based on the false assumption that such attraction is a mental disorder. It may include such methods as talk therapy, electroshock therapy and even treating LGBTQ identity as an addiction, not unlike substance abuse disorders related to drugs or alcohol.
I am not broken,” he continued in a speech that immediately went viral. “I am loved and important to the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.
I am sure you helped someone that was sitting in the audience who was feeling desperate, you may have even saved a life. You have a full life ahead of you, filled with love companionship and adventure. Love is love.
In Commencement Speech, Brigham Young Graduate ‘Proud to Be a Gay Son of God’
At a university where its honor code explicitly prohibits “homosexual behavior,” Matt Easton’s very public coming out was not without risk.
At a university that considers same-sex marriage a “serious transgression,” and where its honor code explicitly prohibits “homosexual behavior,” Matt Easton’s very public coming out was not without risk.
But Mr. Easton, the valedictorian of Brigham Young University’s political science department, put aside fears that he could be expelled and found the courage he said was inspired by a presidential candidate.
“I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” he said last Friday in a commencement speech before 10,000 people inside the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
To his surprise, the crowd erupted into cheers.
“I am not broken,” he continued in a speech that immediately went viral. “I am loved and important to the plan of our great creator. Each of us are.”