The outcome of last November’s election continues paying big dividends for progressive voters as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer officially prohibits state-sanctioned conversion therapy performed on minors. The governor’s signature on House Bills 4616 and 4617, introduced by state representatives Felicia Brabec and Jason Hoskins, makes it illegal for state-licensed providers from engaging in the debunked mental healthcare practice that aims to steer queer and questioning individuals toward heterosexuality. Michigan is the 22nd U.S. state to outlaw the practice on minors.
“As a mom of a member of the community and a proud, lifelong ally, I’m grateful that today we’re banning the horrific practice of conversion therapy in Michigan,” Whitmer wrote on Instagram, referring to her openly lesbian daughter Sherry. “In doing so, we are taking action to make Michigan a more welcoming, inclusive place. Let’s keep working to expand our fundamental freedoms and fight back against any and all forms of discrimination.”
In a news release, Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott writes, “Equality Michigan proudly commends Governor Whitmer for her decisive action in ending this harmful and discredited practice in the state of Michigan. With 15% of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ youth reporting being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy, signing this legislation into law is a vital step toward protecting some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Every young person in our state deserves to grow up free from the damaging effects of conversion therapy. By affirming that LGBTQ+ youth should be embraced, supported, and loved for exactly who they are, Michigan is paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for everyone who lives, works, and visits here.”
The governor has recently signed several other pieces of legislation, as well, including a new budget that will provide free breakfast and lunch to all 1.4 million Michigan public school students and significantly expand a program that provides free preschool for thousands of Michigan families.