LANSING, MI (WILX) - Michigan could join 16 other states in banning "conversion therapy" for minors. The therapy is marketed as a way to turn gays straight.
That's why democratic sponsors introduced Senate Bill 284 and House Bill 4515 on Wednesday that would ban that type of therapy. However, only when done by a mental health professional.The bill sponsors said the goal is to make Michigan more accepting of everyone.
"We need to send a very loud and clear message that Michigan is welcoming. It's welcoming to you no matter who you are and who you love because regardless of your sexual orientation you are somebody with great ideas," said bill sponsor Sen. Mallory McMurrow, (D) Royal Oak.
The ban bill introduced by State Senator Mallory McMurrow and State Representative Yousef Rabhi bans mental health professionals from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation.
"And just the unbearable shame of somebody telling you those feelings are wrong and that you are wrong. And that you are broken and trying to force you into becoming somebody that you are not," said McMurrow.
Representative Rabhi released a statement saying, “This bill would prohibit mental health professionals in Michigan from engaging in conversion therapy with minors. Major mental health professional associations oppose conversion therapy for people of any age, but it is particularly unconscionable to use it on children, who often cannot refuse to participate. Mental health professionals violating the ban would be subject to disciplinary action and licensing sanctions for unprofessional conduct. I am so proud to introduce this vital legislation with my colleague Senator McMorrow to end the legacy of this practice which has caused harm to far too many Michiganders.”
Similar bills were introduced and died in 2014 and in 2018. Supporters hope this time will be different.
"I think it's a great idea. I never believed that sexuality is a product of nurture, I believe it's a product of nature. So when you are born with it conversion therapy seems unethical and horrible thing to do really," said Vincent Liu, an MSU student.
The bill could maybe be a lesson to parents, people told us, that might not be as accepting.
"Kids are allowed to be free and who they want to be their parents shouldn't be sending them off to try and change them, they should accept them the way they are or learn to live with the way they are," said Lila Drake-Flam, an MSU student.
Mental health professionals that violate the ban would be subject to disciplinary action and licensing sanctions for unprofessional conduct.
This bill exempts religious organizations, or therapists if they chose to do conversion therapy.
There are groups and individuals who think this should be left up to parents. One of them is Focus on the Family, which calls the therapy "sexual orientation change efforts."
It states counselors should be allowed to help clients who have unwanted same-sex attractions.