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State lawmakers hear testimony on bills to ban conversion therapy

conversion therapy
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-06 22:55:07-04

LANSING, Mich. — A group of state lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday on a bill that, if passed, would ban so-called “conversion therapy.”

Conversion therapy is any emotional or physical therapy used to ‘"cure" or "repair" a person’s attraction to the same sex, or their gender identity and expression, according to WebMD.

Committee considers bills banning conversion therapy

State Senator Mallory McMorrow sponsored the bill. She spoke Tuesday and urged the Committee on Housing and Human Services to pass Senate bills 348 and 349.

“It’s bringing Michigan in line with a practice that has been widely discredited for more than a decade as something that causes more harm and scientifically proven to not even do what the theory of it is,” Sen. McMorrow said.

Senate bill 348 would prohibit mental health providers from offering conversion therapies to minors, and Senate bill 349 defines conversion therapy as any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Decades of research have demonstrated that diversity and sexual orientation and gender identity represents healthy, normal variations in human experience. Conversion therapies are not therapy at all, but rather an expression of stigma that has no place in professional mental healthcare,” Dr. Joy Wolf, the former president of the Michigan Psychological Association, said.

One person did testify against the bills Tuesday:

“I fear this bill will cause more and more children to be channeled down a pathway that won’t alleviate their suffering, and will actually make things worse for them,” Gregory Baylor with Alliance Defending Freedom said.

The bills would only apply to licensed healthcare providers; however, some people are concerned about the growing number of unlicensed individuals trying to offer conversion therapy.

“I think our hope, in working on this for some time, that by ensuring our licensed professionals are held to the highest standards,” Sen. McMorrow explained. “When people are looking for therapy for their child, they’re seeking licensed professionals and when they do so they know they’re getting the most accurate care.”

Lawmakers introduced a similar bill in 2021 but failed to get it out of committee.

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