- Associated Press - Friday, April 13, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Passions boiled over during a debate in the Maine House over a bill to ban conversion therapy, causing the House speaker to suspend debate at one point so tensions could simmer before members cast their vote.

House members passed the bill in a 76-68 vote Thursday, largely along party lines.

Democratic Rep. Ryan Fecteau’s bill would ban state-licensed therapists from engaging in efforts to discourage same-sex attraction or change the gender identity of individuals under age 18.

Supporters of conversion therapy say the bill could hurt parental rights and the work of faith-based counselors.

The American Medical Association says the practice may cause long-term psychological harm.

Nine states have similar bans on the practice. At least 19 other states are considering conversion therapy legislation.

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