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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 4/4/2019

Contact: Michael Avitzur
Director of Government Relations
617-778-1942

BBA Urges Governor Baker to Sign Conversion Therapy Ban into Law

The Boston Bar Association commends both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature for passing legislation that would ban the use of so-called conversion therapy by licensed providers on minors in the Commonwealth. A special thanks goes to the hard work and dedication of engaged advocates like MassEquality and GLAD, to Representative Kay Khan and Senator Julian Cyr for their leadership on this front, and to House and Senate leadership for their support. The BBA has been advocating for the Commonwealth to join the growing number of states banning this harmful and discredited practice since 2015, and we urge Governor Baker to sign the bill into law.

Across the country, medical and child welfare experts agree that the use of so-called "conversion therapy" on children does not align with current scientific understandings of sexual orientation and gender identity and is not only ineffective and misleading-in that it attempts to "cure" something that is not an illness or disorder-but also dangerous. The American Bar Association also passed a resolution three years ago urging governments to enact laws prohibiting state-licensed professionals from using this dangerous practice on minors. Already, fifteen states have signed bills banning the practice into law, including New England neighbors Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

The BBA has a long history of defending the principles of non-discrimination and equal protection, and we are proud to stand with the broad coalition of child-welfare, human rights, and health care organizations, including MassEquality, GLAD, the Boston Children's Hospital, and the Children's League of Massachusetts in advocating for these important protections for Massachusetts' LGBTQ+ youth.

"It is long overdue that LGBTQ+ youth in the Commonwealth receive protections that ensure that all medical treatment they receive affirmatively supports their identity and follows the highest ethical standards," said Jonathan M. Albano of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, BBA President. "We hope the Governor will answer the calls of experts, lawyers, advocates, and families to sign this measure into law."

The Baker-Polito Administration recognized the vital importance of affirming the equality of Massachusetts' LGBTQ+ residents when it enacted protections from discrimination for transgender people in Massachusetts. We hope the Governor will reinforce that affirmation by guaranteeing this important protection to the youth of the Commonwealth.

To learn more about the BBA's past advocacy and why these protections are so important, visit our Issue Spot Blog here.

The Boston Bar Association traces its origins to meetings convened by John Adams, who provided pro bono representation to the British soldiers prosecuted for the Boston Massacre and went on to become the nation’s second president. Its mission is to advance the highest standards of excellence for the legal profession, facilitate access to justice, serve the community at large and promote diversity and inclusion.