Md. lawmaker voted to ban gay conversion therapy while her father, a state senator, opposed bill

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Maryland lawmakers have voted to ban gay conversion therapy for children.

A Republican lawmaker who voted for the bill said this topic hits close to home. Del. Meagan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, said her parents suggested conversion therapy when she came out as bisexual.

Her father happens to be a Maryland state senator who voted against the conversion therapy ban.

According to Del. Simonaire, her parents were "heartbroken and disgusted" when she confessed a relationship with another female. She said even though she didn't go through with conversion therapy, her parents' attempt to "fix" her left her depressed.

She spoke in the House of Delegates prior to the vote saying even good parents make mistakes.

"These 'good' parents believe they are doing everything in their power to help the child that they love so dearly," she said. "But by sending them to this therapy, regardless of the goodness of their intent to help their child to live a better life, that well-intended parent can even wind up inflicting significant emotional damage that can potentially last a lifetime."

Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel) said what happened with his daughter has been misconstrued, stating that she was 25 years old and not a child when she came to him and his wife seeking advice.

"We are privileged that all our grown children still seek our advice as we have built a lasting and loving relationship with all of them over the years," Bryan Simonaire wrote. "In Meagan's specific case, we suggested various Christian counselors knowing her religious background. She did not take our advice, as is not uncommon for many adult children, nor did she attend counseling. That was the end of the conversation. There were no force, threats or unloving comments. It was just advice that was ignored."

The bill that passed in Maryland does not ban all conversion therapy, but bans licensed professionals from practicing that kind of therapy on minors.

A similar bill passed a few years ago in D.C. An effort to institute a ban in Virginia failed during the last legislative session.