Will Michigan Be The Next State To Ban Conversion Therapy?

Democratic Rep. Adam Zemke introduced a bill to the Michigan House of Representatives that will ban ex-gay conversion therapy.

BY Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

July 30 2014 7:14 PM ET

Rep. Adam Zemke

A bill was introduced this month that would put an end to performing so-called conversion therapy on minors in the state of Michigan.

Michigan would be the third state after California and New Jersey to pass a law that bans the practice of conversion therapy. House Bill 5703, which would ban mental health professionals from participating in “sexual orientation change efforts,” has been introduced and referred to the committee on health policy for the State of Michigan, according to the Michigan Legislature website.

The bill's language states that any efforts to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity,  gender expression made by "a mental health professional that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation, including, but not limited to, efforts to change behavior, gender identity, or gender expression or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward an individual of the same gender,” reads the bill.

Rep. Adam Zemke, who introduced the bill, said he has been working to get support from Republican lawmakers to pass the bill with bipartisan support, but the first possible hurdle may come from Republican committee chair Rep. Gail Haines.

“Conversion therapy has proven to be ineffective and harmful, especially for children, and it doesn’t belong here in Michigan or anywhere,” Zemke said, according to Pink News. “I am pleased to see that this issue is being championed on a bipartisan basis in state legislatures across our country and by Republican Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey. I hope that we will see the same bipartisan support in our own Legislature.”

Several groups, including the American Psychological Association, found that attempts to change sexual orientation are both ineffective and harmful, especially for minors and children.

Michigan native Patrick McAlvey, told MLive about his nine years in conversion therapy in Lansing, Mich. McAlvey, who now lives in New York, began the conversion therapy when he was 11 years old, where he was subjected to “increasingly intense session” led by a practicioner who was not a licensed therapist in the state, according the Lansing City Pulse.

“When you are 11,” McAlvey said, "the person who you are going to be is developing, and to be told a part of you that you didn’t choose and can’t change is wrong, it’s a crushing blow to your self-esteem."

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