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Minnesota gov. bars state involvement with conversion therapy

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz this week signed an executive order that bars state money from going to conversion therapy.

The order also requires the state health department to prepare a report on the public health impacts of conversion therapy. State agencies will also request statements from HMOs and health plan companies saying that they do not pay for conversion therapy and investigate healthcare providers engaged in discriminatory practices related to conversion therapy.

Illinois banned “conversion therapy” in 2015. Every leading medical and scientific association including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and National Education Association have strongly and uniformly rejected conversion therapy for minors, citing its harmful effects on the long-term mental health of LGBTQ youth.

“Our kids deserve to grow up in a state that values them for who they are – not one that tries to change them,” said Walz, a Democrat. “This Executive Order aims to protect young and vulnerable Minnesotans from the cruel and discredited practice of conversion therapy and affirms that the LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of One Minnesota.”

“We at OutFront are incredibly grateful and excited to see Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan signing onto this Executive Order. This Executive Order will protect LGBTQ+ youth and their families from the harmful practice of conversion therapy,” said James Darville, Policy & Organizing Director for OutFront Minnesota. 

“We applaud Governor Walz for his leadership in protecting LGBTQ youth and their families from this deadly practice,” said Mathew Shurka, a survivor of conversion therapy and Co-Founder of Born Perfect, a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy. “This is one of the strongest executive orders in the country and reflects Governor Walz’s understanding that the harms caused by conversion therapy are devastating.

Born Perfect has identified more than 2,500 conversion therapy providers nationally, including more than 40 in Minnesota. UCLA’s Williams Institute found in 2018 that more than 698,000 American adults have endured conversion therapy since childhood.

23 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have taken action against conversion therapy. Executive Order 21-25 goes into effect fifteen days after publication in the State Register and filing with the Secretary of State.

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