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This is really a lifesaving legislation’: Whitmer signs law to ban conversion therapy

Quinn Dombrowski

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law on Wednesday banning mental health professionals from performing conversion therapy on minors in Michigan.

In a statement, Whitmer said the new law makes Michigan a more welcoming place for everyone.

“As a mom of a member of the community and a proud, lifelong ally, I’m grateful that today we are banning the horrific practice of conversion therapy in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement.

Conversion therapy is the practice of using therapy methods in an attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Many health organizations say the practice does not work and is harmful to LGBTQ youth.

According to a study by the Trevor Project, “LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to report having attempted suicide and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year.”

Executive Director of Great Lakes Bay Pride Scott Ellis says this law is crucial in protecting the LGBTQ community.

“This legislation is about saving youth,” Ellis said. “This is really a lifesaving legislation.”

The law will make Michigan the 22nd state to ban the practice.

“I am thrilled to know that Michigan is now the 22nd state to pass legislation banning conversion therapy,” Great Lakes Bay Pride Executive Director Scott Ellis. “I think that puts us on the right side of history really.”

Great Lakes Bay Pride was one of the partners that worked to get the law signed.

Ellis says the organization worked with Equality Michigan, Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project to get the legislation passed.

“We are excited to see this come to fruition after having been involved from its introduction phase,” Ellis said. “Moving through committee hearings, moving through the House, the Senate and ultimately making its way to the governor's desk.”

Opponents of the law say the new law censors conversations between patients and their therapist.