Legislation will protect kids and parents, follow medical and psychiatric guidance
LANSING, Mich. (June 27, 2023) — Today, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 348 and 349, Sen. Mallory McMorrow’s (D-Royal Oak) to prohibit mental professionals licensed in the state of Michigan from practicing so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ+ youth in Michigan. To date, 21 states — under both Republican and Democratic leadership — have banned this dangerous practice.
“This practice is more akin to torture than therapy and flies in the face of science and medical and mental health experts, let alone basic decency,” said Sen. McMorrow. “Homosexuality and gender identity are not something that can be, or more importantly, needs to be ‘cured.’ Mental health professionals licensed by the state should not be allowed to implement practices that are not only ineffective, but potentially incredibly harmful to their patients.”
Both the concept and the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” are dangerous and widely discredited by medical and psychological experts. Sen. McMorrow’s bills have the support of the Michigan Psychological Association, Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, the Michigan Association of School Psychologists, Michigan Association of School Social Workers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Michigan School Counselor Association.
“This legislation will protect our young LGBTQ+ Michiganders, but also their parents, who deserve to know that when they hire a licensed mental health professional, that professional is operating only with reputable practices and in the best interest of their child, NOT inflicting harm on them,” Sen McMorrow said.
One often under-discussed issue as it relates to this legislation is that of consumer protection. McMorrow noted that she’s had heartbreaking conversations with parents here in Michigan who have inadvertently encountered this type of therapy, and banning this therapy would eliminate that risk. These mothers and fathers sought a counselor or therapist for their child, lovingly hoping to help them navigate the challenges of growing up, discovering who they are, and grappling with their identity and orientation, only to learn that the professional they hired was not in fact helping their child, but attempting to convert them — to tell them who they are is wrong and unwelcome.