Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Minnesota State Legislature for Passing Conversion Therapy Ban; Bill Now Heads to Governor Walz’s Desk

by Aryn Fields

Today, the Human Rights Campaign applauded the Minnesota State Legislature and the work of state partner OutFront Minnesota for passing H.F. 16, which would ban conversion therapy practices in the state. This bill is an example of how pro-equality state legislatures are able to advance LGBTQ+ rights, even as other states are continuing to roll back critical rights and protections. The bill now heads to Governor Walz’s desk to be signed into law.

Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement:

“We celebrate the passage of this important bill, which sends a powerful message of acceptance. Every person deserves to live their lives authentically and without fear of damaging efforts to try to change who they are. Even as LGBTQ+ people are under attack in statehouses across the country, Minnesota has taken steps towards progressing LGBTQ+ rights. Banning ‘conversion therapy’ is a critical step towards creating a more just and compassionate society. We thank the Minnesota State Legislature for their leadership on this issue and look forward to Governor Walz signing this ban into law.”

In 2015, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an Executive Order banning the harmful practice of “conversion therapy” by licensed providers working with minors. To date, 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws or regulations prohibiting the practice, with eight of these state laws or regulations having been enacted under Republican governors.

“Conversion therapy,” sometimes referred to as “sexual orientation change efforts'' or “reparative therapy,” encompasses a range of practices, built on no credible evidence, that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, efforts that have long been opposed by major medical and health organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association. However, due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ+ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, an estimated 28% of LGBTQ+ minors live in states with no laws or policies banning conversion therapies for minors.

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

This year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 120 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, 12 have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota.
  • More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,
  • More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.

In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.

More than 300 major U.S. corporations have stood up and spoken out to oppose anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being proposed in states across the country. Major employers in tech, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, retail, and other sectors are joining with a unified voice to say discrimination is bad for business and to call on lawmakers to abandon these efforts. Four of the largest U.S. food companies also condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.

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