Maine lawmakers in the state House Judiciary Committee approved a piece of legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to undergo hormone therapy to get gender hormone therapy without the consent of their parents.
Only one Democrat on the Judiciary Committee opposed the bill, which passed through the committee by a vote of 7-1 and is sponsored by Rep. Erin Sheehan D-Biddeford. The bill, L.D. 535, would allow minors aged 16 and 17 to receive cross-sex hormone therapy without the approval of their parents if they have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
“The goal of this proposal is to protect the lives of young trans people who will certainly be harmed in a delay of gender-affirming care,” Rep. Sheehan remarked.
She also argued that medical transitions are being “politicized and stigmatized in the press and on social media” before adding “transgender people, including youth, are being explicitly vilified and branded a threat to their peers by grownups – even by leaders in their communities.”
The lone Republican who was present, Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, voted in support of the legislation. The other Republican on the 13-member committee left before the vote. Meanwhile, the one dissenting vote came from Rep. Stephen Moriarty D-Cumberland. Although Rep. Moriarty isn’t opposed to the medical transition of minors, he believes that parents should be made aware.
A number of pro-trans organizations, including OUT Maine, Equality Maine, MaineTransNet, and others, testified in support of the legislation. Meanwhile, others testified in opposition to the legislation, asserting that lawmakers were waging a “war on children” and stripping parents of their rights.
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A second bill, L.D. 1735, would protect medical providers who provide medical transitions from prosecution by authorities in other states. The bill is being proposed by Rep. Laurie Osher, D-Orono, who stated, “That’s why we call it a shield because we’re protecting Mainers and the people they treat should also be protected.”
One physician testified against the legislation, remarking, “As physicians, we know that the brain development is ongoing in adolescence into early adulthood.”
Next week, the Judiciary Committee is set to hear other bills concerning the LGBT movement, including a piece of legislation that would prevent teachers from referring to students with different pronouns without parental consent and one that would ban males who identify as girls from playing in girls’ sports.
Maine’s state House of Representatives has 81 Democrats and 67 Republicans, as well as 2 Independents and one vacancy. Meanwhile, the state Senate is comprised of 22 Democrats and 13 Republicans.