Policy: Conversion Therapy Ban
Conversion therapy, sometimes called reparative therapy, is a barbaric practice that needs to be banned in the state of Minnesota. The practice claims it is able to alter someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Not only is that not necessary, but there exists little to no evidence that conversion therapy is capable of doing that. Much more evidence exists that it is actively harmful to those who are forced to undergo it, especially as minors.
The list of medical organizations that have condemned the practice includes:
American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American College of Physicians
American Counseling Association
American Medical Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychoanalytic Association
American Psychological Association
American School Counselor Association
American School Health Association
National Association of Social Workers
I want to repeat that the simple act of being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans person doesn’t require therapy as none of those things are diseases or disorders, and the fact remains conversion therapy is ineffectual. The American Psychological Association reviewed the evidence and stated clearly that practitioners of this type of therapy “have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure.”
Other studies of the effects of conversion therapy have demonstrated those subject to it actually have increased rates of depression and suicide. When you have a practice so negatively impacting people, it needs to be banned.
That’s exactly what we’ve seen start to happen around the country. Twenty different states and two US territories have banned conversion therapy. The cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth have all banned it too. I know many people raise questions of religious freedom when it comes to banning this practice, but the fact that a state with as Christian a population as Utah has already banned conversion therapy should help demonstrate that this isn’t a problem.
The Minnesota State House voted to ban it in 2019, but the relevant section of that bill was taken out before being voted on by the Senate. I will work to push this bill across the finish line as this is another place where science and morality have given us a clear path we need to take.