Whitmer bars public money from funding widely discredited gay ‘conversion therapy’

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive Monday prohibiting the use of state and federal funds for a widely discredited practice that purports to be able to change minors’ sexual orientation or gender identity.

The directive orders the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to “take actions necessary” to ensure public money is not used to fund so-called gay conversion therapy.



Democrats introduced a ban on the practice in 2019 but Republicans blocked its passage.

"Since day one, I have made it clear that hate has no home in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “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. The actions we take today will serve as a starting point in protecting our LGBTQ+ youth from the damaging practice of conversion therapy and in ensuring that Michigan is a reflection of true inclusion.”



Conversion therapy treats homosexuality as a choice and a mental illness that can be treated. But voluminous research shows that the practice is ineffective and increases depression, drug abuse, and the risk of suicide.

The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association are opposed to the practice.

In June 2019, Huntington Woods became the first city in Michigan to ban conversion therapy.

“No child should be subjected to the abusive practice of so-called conversion therapy, which sends the harmful message that there is something wrong with who you are," Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan, which advocates for LGBTQ rights, said Monday. "Luckily, LGBTQ+ kids in Michigan have the support of Governor Whitmer who is doing everything in her power to protect them from this dangerous, fraudulent practice that should never be subsidized with taxpayer dollars."

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