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Michigan Senate Passes Legislation Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors

Michigan Senate Passes Legislation Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors

<p>Michigan Senate Passes Legislation Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors</p>

The bills now await the approval of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan lawmakers have approved a bill that prohibits conversion therapy for minors.

The legislation prevents mental health professionals from using the discredited practice of conversion therapy to attempt to change LGBTQ+ individuals' sexual orientation or gender identity.

Following the state House's prior approval, the ban passed Tuesday night in the Michigan Senate with a 21-15 vote, supported by just one Republican legislator.

The bill now awaits final approval by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who previously denounced conversion therapy as a "dangerous practice," local TV station WKBD reports.

Whitmer has been vocal about her support of LGBTQ+ rights. In an interview with The Advocate Channel, she promised to veto any anti-trans legislation that reached her desk, and noted that Michigan has "a legislature that supports the LGBTQ+ community."

Democratic state Representative Jason Hoskins, a bill sponsor and the first LGBTQ+ person of color elected in Michigan's Legislature, also strongly denounced conversion therapy, and stated that it "works on the false premise that LGBTQ+ children are wrong and they need to be fixed," according to WKBD.

"Banning it is just one less thing that LGBTQ children will have to worry about going forward in Michigan," he said.

Led by Whitmer, Michigan Democrats have prioritized bolstering LGBTQ+ protections since gaining control of all levels of state government, and have codified these protections in the state's civil rights law.

While Republican senators expressed opposition to the ban during the Senate session, Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss, the state's first openly gay senator, rejoined that, "Hearing a bunch of straight people in the Senate lecture me about the journey of an LGBTQ person is the exact reason we should be banning conversion therapy."

The legislation defines conversion therapy as any effort by mental health professionals to alter an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, excluding counseling that aids gender transitions. If signed into law by Whitmer, Michigan will join 21 other states in banning the practice.

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