Minnesota legislators introduce bill to ban ex-gay therapy for minors

Reps. Karen Clark and Susan Allen, both of Minneapolis, have introduced legislation to ban “conversion therapy” for minors. Conversion therapy is used to change or suppress same-sex romantic and sexual attraction and is used almost exclusively by conservative religious organizations and therapists.

The bill was announced as being among the interim bill introductions announced on Monday. Those are bills that legislators have offered between sessions. The bill prohibits physicians, nurses, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, social workers, and behavioral health therapists from engaging in “ex-gay” therapy with children under 18. The bill directs the professional board of those occupations to discipline professionals who engage in the practice.

The bill is modeled after one that passed in California in 2012 and had been upheld by a federal court. New Jersey has also banned the controversial therapy. Legislation is pending in New York, Ohio, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maryland among others.

Here’s the full text of Minnesota’s bill:

A bill for an act relating to health professionals; prohibiting sexual orientation change efforts with children; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 214.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. [214.077] SEXUAL ORIENTATION CHANGE EFFORTS.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given them.
(b) “Provider” means a person licensed by the Board of Medical Practice created pursuant to section 147.01, the Board of Nursing created pursuant to section 148.181, the Board of Psychology created pursuant to section 148.90, the Board of Social Work created pursuant to section 148E.025, the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy created pursuant to section 148B.30, or the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy created pursuant to section 148B.51.
(c) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices by a provider that seek
to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex. Sexual orientation change efforts do not include counseling that provides assistance to a person seeking to transition from one gender to another, or counseling that provides acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or facilitates a client’s coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices so long as such counseling does not seek to change sexual orientation.
Subd. 2. Prohibition. (a) No provider shall engage in sexual orientation change
efforts with a client under 18 years of age.
(b) Any sexual orientation change efforts attempted by a provider with a client
under 18 years of age shall be unprofessional conduct and shall be subject to disciplinary action by the provider’s licensing board.
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Rep. Allen spoke to Capitol Report about the bill, in the video above.