New law in East Lansing protects LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy

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EAST LANSING, MI (WILX) -- A new law was passed in East Lansing to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

Council members decided to ban the practice "3 -to-2" Tuesday night.

East Lansing City Councilmember Aaron Stephens introduced the ordinance to bring more protections to LGBTQ youth.

"It's a practice that should not be in effect, it's something that should not be happening," Stephens said.

"It's led to higher suicide rates and increased depression and anxiety within the LGBTQI community."

The measure passed but not without resistance.

Council and community members raised concerns about the grounds of litigation and enforcement.

"We could be in yet another lawsuit that could cost us hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars to defend," said Councilmember Ruth Beier.

The ordinance is designed to protect people 18 and under from therapy practices that conforms to a sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression against their will.

Violations of the ordinance is now a misdemeanor offense and therapists could face medical malpractice charges.

Complaints will be investigated by the East Lansing Police Department.

East Lansing City Attorney Erik Altmann said the ordinance could be challenged in court based on freedom of speech and freedom of religion rights.

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