Conversion therapy for minors has been officially banned by the Hazel Park City Council after a unanimous vote Tuesday.
“This ordinance prohibiting conversion therapy embodies our ongoing commitment to the LGBTQ community, while also protecting our children from dangerous and discredited practices that have no legitimate medical basis,” said Councilmember Luke Londo, who introduced the ordinance and identifies as bisexual.
In passing the ban, Hazel Park becomes the sixth city in the state to have both a human rights ordinance (HRO) and a conversion therapy ban. The city joins Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Royal Oak, which all have HROs prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression as well as conversion therapy bans.
Conversion therapy has been widely condemned by the medical community and has been documented by numerous studies as posing a significant risk of serious emotional and physical harm to youth who undergo it. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2021-3 in June of 2021, which requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to “take actions necessary to prohibit the use of state and federal funds for the harmful practice of conversion therapy on minors.”
"Since day one, I have made it clear that hate has no home in Michigan," Whitmer said at the time. "My administration is committed to addressing the systemic barriers faced by young LGBTQ+ Michiganders so that our state is a place where they are able to reach their full potential.”Hazel Park’s evolving commitment to LGBTQ+ community members
Hazel Park, much like nearby Ferndale and Royal Oak, well known as LGBTQ+ havens, has taken steps to truly open its arms to the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. The city passed its HRO in April of last year, sponsored by Londo and Councilmember Alissa Sullivan. The city hosted its first Pride in the Park celebration in 2019.
“Hazel Park has had an active, vibrant LGBTQ community for years,” Londo told Pride Source. “City Council has been very deliberate as of late in taking opportunities to recognize our LGBTQ residents, whether by raising the Pride Flag every June, hosting a Pride event, or passing legislation to protect their civil rights.
“Actually, when I first mentioned wanting to pass a Human Rights Ordinance last year, everyone was under the impression we already had one,” Londo continued. “I was merely codifying what had been common practice — ensuring our LGBTQ community is protected and celebrated.”
The ordinance still has to pass a second reading, which will take place at the Hazel Park City Council meeting on March 8. Once passed on second reading, it will take effect later that month.Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Luke Londo's last name as Lonzo.