Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday banning conversion therapy for minors.
Walz called conversion therapy – the practice of trying to change LGBT people to be heterosexual – a “byzantine, tortuous practice” and sought to make sure no health insurance plans cover it, The Associated Press (AP) reported. Minnesota is the 24th state to ban the practice, although 11 cities in the state, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Duluth, already had bans in place.
“There’s no place for hate in this state, there’s no room for division,” Walz said at the signing ceremony, according to the report. “Our LGBTQ+ community is part, and a huge part, of what it means to be one Minnesota. When they are hurt or put through this, we all hurt. And when they succeed, we all succeed.” (RELATED: ‘Abhorrent Practices’: Queen Of England Promises To Ban Conversion Therapy)
Some Republicans and groups who oppose the ban argue that it restricts people from seeking treatment voluntarily if they wish to try and change their sexual orientation. The Minnesota Family Council argued that Walz’s ban amounts to “executive overreach.”
“This executive order will not end so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ since professional standards in mental health care already did that years ago,” said Minnesota Family Council CEO John Helmberger. “Instead, this will ban young people experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria from getting the voluntary, compassionate care they need.”
Democratic state Sen. Scott Dibble, who is openly gay, has argued in favor of the ban and advocated for legislation to ensure future governors do not repeal Walz’s executive order, The AP reported. He also supports extending the ban to individuals of all ages, not just minors.
Dibble told LGBT Minnesotans in a statement that they are “perfect” and “do not have to change.”
“You are a gift from God,” he said. “Our state and our world is better because you are part of it. You are a part of us. You are a full member of Minnesota’s family, and beloved.”