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Gov. Whitmer signs bills to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ+ minors

UPDATE 7/26/23 2:10 p.m.

On Wednesday, Gov. Whitmer signed bipartisan House bills meant to protect LGBTQ+ youth by prohibiting conversion therapy for minors. 21 other states have banned the practice.

6/14/23 7 p.m.


According to downstate media, the state house has voted to pass bills ending conversion therapy for minors in Michigan.

The legislation will now head to the senate for a vote.

6/6/23 11 p.m.

Michigan Democrats are looking to do away with conversion therapy in the state.


Conversion therapy is known as any sort of method used to convert a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, usually to turn a gay person straight.

These bills debated in committee Tuesday would prohibit the practice on minors.

“There are kids attempting suicide at twice the rate of their LGBTQ peers, who already themselves are attempting suicide at a higher rate,” said Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat from Royal Oak and the sponsor of the bills.

Senator McMorrow is using Pride month to challenge the use of conversion therapy in minors through a new bill package.


“The two bills would prohibit licensed mental health professionals from practicing what is known as conversion therapy specifically on minors,” said McMorrow. “So they no longer can attempt to change somebody’s gender identity or orientation.”

Conversion therapy is one of those buzz terms that can get twisted in these political debates.

“I think the definition of conversion therapy is what most important right now,” said Sen. John Damoose, a Republican from Harbor Springs.

“It’s a direct attempt, whether it’s through psychotherapy or physical abuse, sometimes to tell somebody that their identity is wrong,” said McMorrow. “And attempt to change it to something else.”


The Senate Housing and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on how therapies are used, if they have ever shown to be effective and worries of government overreach.

“If this bill is to make things like shock therapy, some abusive things we’ve heard about then that makes sense,” said Damoose. “But based on testimony today, it sounds like it’s a whole lot more. You have deep ramifications in terms of advice and words and thoughts and ideas and that’s where we have to be very careful trying to legislate that.”

McMorrow says it also allows parents to know these therapies aren’t used behind their backs and reassures detractors the bill is more narrow than they fear.

“The gentleman who spoke arguing about gender transition care or surgeries, none of that is in the bill,” said McMorrow.

What is in the bill and what the exact parameters are will be of close study before the committee returns to vote next week.

“People should have the right to counsel their kids,” said Damoose. “Does this impact churches? I just don’t know the answer to those questions yet and we need to know all these answers before we support something like this.”

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