Bills to prohibit state funding for therapy that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and to prohibit its use with children or vulnerable adults was introduced in the Minnesota House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday.

The bill (HF2246/SF1974) states in part:

No mental health practitioner or mental health professional shall engage in conversion therapy with a client under 18 years of age or with a vulnerable adult as defined in section 626.5572, subdivision 21.
(b) Conversion therapy attempted by a mental health practitioner or mental health professional with a client under 18 years of age or with vulnerable adults shall be unprofessional conduct and shall be subject to disciplinary action by the mental health practitioner’s or mental health professional’s licensing board.

The bill also contains a line that bars state funding from covering conversion therapy: “Minnesota Statutes 2016, section 256B.0625, is amended by adding a subdivision to read: Subd. 5m. Conversion therapy. Conversion therapy, as defined in section 214.078, is not covered.”

Authors of the bill in the House are DFL Reps. Erin Maye Quade of Apple Valley and Peter Fischer of Maplewood. An identical bill was introduced in the Senate by DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis.

New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia have all implemented similar bans. New Mexico and Colorado have passed similar bans in at least one legislative chamber in 2017. A hearing is set for a similar bill in Connecticut.

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.