ST. PAUL — The Minnesota House of Representatives voted on Thursday to ban “conversion therapy” for youth 18 years old and younger.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the bill bans any practice “that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”
The newspaper also reported the vote was along party lines in the Democratic controlled House. The State Senate, however, is controlled by the GOP. The ban is part of a larger health and human services bill.
“All children deserve to live authentically and free from fear of this dangerous and discredited practice with potentially life-threatening consequences,” said HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse in a statement. “We thank the Minnesota House of Representatives for taking action on this issue and urge the state Senate to pass this measure and join the growing number of states and municipalities that protect LGBTQ youth from abusive ‘conversion therapy.”
“Thousands of Minnesotans have worked so hard over the last few months to stop the torturous practice known as conversion ‘therapy’ and today, during OutFront’s LGBTQ Lobby Day, the Minnesota House sent a strong message of support for LGBTQ Minnesotans by including the Mental Health Protections Act in the Health and Human Services omnibus bill,” said Monica Meyer, Executive Director of OutFront Minnesota. “We could not be more proud of every single LGBTQ and Allied person who made this possible.”
The Pioneer Press reported that the bill does exempt religious officials or others from counseling against being gay or transgender because it affects only licensed mental health counselors and practitioners. Opponents still said it would restrict religious freedom and denies people the chance for the therapy if they want it.