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Minnesota making strides to become next US state to ban conversion therapy

Amy West April 27, 2019
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 9: A general view of downtown Minneapolis and the Mississippi River on April 9, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The week in Minnesota started with two sunny Spring days and has since turned to blizzard conditions. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Minnesota is hoping to become the next state to ban gay conversion therapy in the US.

On Thursday 25 April, the Democrat-led House voted ‘yes’ on amending existing health and human services bill, HF 2414. When changed, the bill will state that ‘any practice by a mental health practitioner or mental health professional that seeks to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity’ is unlawful.

The same goes for any ‘efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender’. Officials ensure that it will not hinder those undergoing gender affirmation from seeking advice or counselling.

After the new bill is made effective, anyone found attempting to carry out conversion practices on a minor will face disciplinary action.

Facing opposition

According to Pioneer Press, Democrat Rep. Julie Sanstede spoke out against the amendment, arguing that a complete ban eliminates someone’s ability to choose whether they want to undergo the therapy or not.

“There is not a person in this chamber who supports the abuses and atrocities we heard about,” she stated. “But this goes too far in taking away the right of the individual in determining the outcome they choose.”

Fellow Democrat and openly gay representative Hunter Cantrell confirmed that as the new bill only covers conversion therapy carried out on those under 18 years of age, that shouldn’t be a concern. “It’s about protecting patients from fraudulent practices,” he added.

 

A collection of Valentine's Day cards to Minnesota lawmakers urging a gay 'cure' therapy ban
Minnesota LGBT+ group OutFront presented politicians with Valentine’s Day cards calling for a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy (TheoKeith/twitter)

Back in February, LGBT+ activists encouraged politicians and lawmakers to ban gay cure therapy by sending Valentine’s Day cards to certain individuals in power that called for the support of bills HF12 and SF83, as part of the Mental Health Protections Act.

US states that have banned conversion therapy

If government officials successfully implement the ban, Minnesota will become the 17th US state to prohibit the harmful practice. States such as New Jersey and California approved legislation against it way back in 2013, while the likes of Oregon, Illinois, New Mexico and Connecticut followed suit a couple of years later.

In the last 12 months, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts have all passed bills banning it within their territories. However, with the exception of New York’s, all bans are limited to preventing people under 18 from being subjected to the controversial pseudoscience.

 

Related topics: gay conversion therapy, Minnesota, US

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