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Two week ago, Maine passed a law which would have banned gay ‘cure’ therapy for minors.

However, it didn’t get enough votes to bypass the state governor’s veto, and Governor Chris LePage has vetoed the law. In doing so, LePage became the first state governor to veto such a law.

In a statement, he said that allowing the law to pass would be “a threat to an individual’s religious liberty.” He further added: “Parents have the right to seek counsel and treatment for their children from professionals who do not oppose the parents’ own religious beliefs.

“No evidence has been presented during the many public meetings on this subject that indicates that conversion therapy is being used by anyone, including licensed professionals, in the State of Maine.”

Marty Rouse, the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) national field director, condemned LePage’s veto, saying: “Governor LePage’s shameful decision to veto this life-saving legislation leaves Maine’s LGBTQ youth at risk of being subjected to a practice that amounts to nothing less than child abuse.

“These crucial protections are supported by a bipartisan majority, and have been signed into law in a growing number of other states by both Democratic and Republican governors — including by the Republican governor in neighbouring New Hampshire mere weeks ago.

“With this inexcusable decision, Governor LePage has become the only governor in the nation to veto legislation protecting young people from this abuse, solidifying his place in history’s hall of shame.

“HRC calls on the Maine legislature to override this veto and to demonstrate to the state’s LGBTQ youth that their lives and well-being are worth protecting.”

To override LePage’s veto the Maine legislature would have to pass the bill with two-thirds of the house’s support. However, LePage isn’t standing for re-election later this year. The Republican candidate to replace him, Shawn Moody, has been silent around the issue, but the Democrat candidate, Janet Mills is an ally to the LGBTQ community.

In an endorsement for Mills, Lucas Acosta, the Democratic National Committee LGBTQ Media Director, said: “While Mills has a proven record of fighting for the LGBTQ community, Moody is refusing to protect LGBTQ children.

“At a time when the Trump administration and LePage continue to roll back protections, Mainers deserve a governor who will fight for the state’s families by standing up for Maine values and fighting for an economy that works for everyone.”

Related: Maine becomes the third U.S. state to legally recognise gender non-binary people