(UnitedVoice.com) – Michigan’s liberal governor has banned a controversial type of therapy used to “treat” gay people. Conversion therapy attempts to make gays and lesbians heterosexual, and persuade other LGBTQ people to adopt normal genders. While it used to be widely accepted, it’s rapidly being legislated out of existence.
On July 26, Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a law that bans conversion therapy for minors in Michigan. Conversion therapy has a clear aim — persuading LGBTQ people they’re actually heterosexual — but the techniques used to do it vary wildly and include electroshock therapy, drugs, and hypnosis, as well as counseling and spiritual interventions. Whatever the methods, though, behavioral scientists agree that conversion therapy doesn’t work. In fact, it can often damage patients’ mental health.
The law Whitmer has just signed was passed by the Michigan Senate on June 27 on a mostly partisan 21-15 vote (one Republican voted with Democrats in favor of the bill). The legislation bans mental health professionals from trying to convert LTBTQ people under 18 to a different sexual orientation from the one they believe they are. Its sponsors included State Representative Jason Hoskins (D), who was the first non-white LGBTQ legislator elected.
The Democrats took full control of the Michigan legislature in January, and since then, they’ve focused on LGBTQ issues. Previous laws include protection against discrimination; now, legislators have gone after a more controversial topic. Whitmer’s signature on this law makes the state the 22nd in the US to outlaw conversion therapy.
Whitmer has a personal interest in this law, as one of her own children belongs to the LGBTQ community. Although scientists and medics have long rejected conversion therapy, it’s still relatively popular in Michigan. In fact, up to 15% of LGBTQ teenagers in the state claim to have been offered the treatment. Now that can’t legally happen.
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