Legislation introduced to ban use of conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in Michigan

A group of marchers hold a giant rainbow flag while participating in the annual LGBTQI Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25, 2017 in San Francisco, California. The LGBT community descended on Market Street for the 47th annual Pride Parade. (Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich. – Legislation was introduced to make Michigan the 17th state to ban the use of conversion therapy by health professionals.

State Sen. Mallory McMorrow D-Royal Oak, and State Rep. Yousef Rabhi D-Ann Arbor, introduced Senate Bill 284 and House Bill 4515 to protect the rights of LGBTQ youth by not allowing treatments that are meant to force changes to the sexual orientation or gender identity of people under the age of 18.

“Eradicating conversion therapy will send a clear message that Michigan is a place where discrimination will not be tolerated,” McMorrow said. “If we want to attract and retain talented, hardworking people in our communities, we need to ensure that our state is welcoming and open to all.”

Michigan Senate Democrats said in a news release that conversion therapy contributes to depression, low self-esteem, substance abuse and suicide.

“We must label conversion therapy as what it is: child abuse. There is no amount of junk science that will change someone’s orientation,” said state Sen. Jeremy Moss D-Southfield, a co-sponsor of SB 284. “The dangerous practices that some adults employ on vulnerable children cannot be tolerated.”

Sixteen other states and the District of Columbia have banned conversion therapy for people under the age of 18.

“Conversion therapy is based on prejudice and has been discredited by modern medicine,” Rabhi said. “It is time to end the brutal legacy of this practice, which has caused deep psychological damage for many Michiganders.”

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