US: Michigan Democrat introduces law that will ban gay conversion therapy

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Democratic State Representative Adam Zemke of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has sponsored legislation outlawing conversion therapies in the state of Michigan.

House Bill 5703 prohibits “any practice by a mental health professional that seeks to change a minor’s sexual orientation,” stated a press release from the House Democrats.

If the bill passes in Michigan, the state will join California and New Jersey, which have successfully passed similar laws.

Representative Zemke wants to make Michigan a state where all people feel welcome. “Conversion therapy has proven to be ineffective and harmful, especially for children, and it doesn’t belong here in Michigan or anywhere.

“I am pleased to see that this issue is being championed on a bipartisan basis in state legislatures across our country and by Republican Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey. I hope that we will see the same bipartisan support in our own Legislature.”

A report released by The American Psychological Association in 2009 said that attempts to change sexual orientation are both ineffective and harmful. Side effects to conversion therapies include depression, suicidal ideation and anxiety. The report urged mental health professions to avoid practicing conversion therapies.

Representative Zemke said he has engaged in productive conversations with Republican lawmakers in Michigan. He expects to win some bipartisan support for the bill but it will likely face opposition in the House Health Policy Committee, headed by Republican Gail Haines.

Haines has expressed concerns over government involvement and intervention in the “relationship between parents and a child.”

Governor Christie harbored similar concerns when passing comparable legislature in New Jersey last year.