Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz along with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan recently signed an executive order bypassing the Minnesota legislature and putting restrictions on Conversion Therapy in the State. Conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy,” is a method of counseling aimed at changing a patient’s gender or sexual orientation. LGBTQ+ youth will be protected from conversion therapy under the order, which has been opposed by the Minnesota Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
Several leading medical and scientific associations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and National Education Association, have strongly and uniformly rejected conversion therapy for minors, citing its harmful effects on long-term mental health. Governor Watlz was quoted saying “”Our kids deserve to grow up in a state that values them for who they are – not one that tries to change them.”
LGBTQ+ youth will be protected from conversion therapy under this order, something that the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate has resisted. A total of 23 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have passed legislation condemning conversion therapy. In Minnesota, Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) is a fierce opponent of conversion therapy and the chief author of legislation banning it. He attended Thursday’s press conference at the state Capitol in Minneapolis. Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights will investigate and pursue civil enforcement actions against conversion therapy providers who engage in discriminatory practices. The MDH will prepare a report on the impact of conversion therapy on public health.
Not everyone is on board with Governor Waltz’s decision. There has been a substantial amount of pushback from the other side of the political Spectrum. Many have openly spoken out against the signal this legislative move might send to the youth including John Helmberger, CEO of The Family Council of Minnesota. He said “ “This executive order will not end so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ since professional standards in mental health care already did that years ago. Instead, this will ban young people experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria from getting the voluntary, compassionate care they need.”
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