Advance Notice: Briefs

Civil rights commissioner introduces resolution backing ban on conversion therapy for minors

By: - April 26, 2023 9:33 am

Michigan Pride, June 15, 2019 | Susan J. Demas

Updated, 4:28 p.m., 4/25/23

Efforts to ban the practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ+ minors picked up support this week at a Michigan Civil Rights Commission meeting.

Commissioner Luke Londo, an independent who also serves as Hazel Park’s mayor pro tem, introduced a resolution Monday imploring the Legislature to ban conversion therapy for minors, and to provide for disciplinary actions and licensing sanctions for mental health professionals who violate such a ban. 

Hazel Park Councilmember Luke Londo

“I have heard that legislation on conversion therapy will be introduced this session, and I look forward to supporting the sponsors and relentlessly advocating for it to become law,” Londo told the Michigan Advance.

The Human Rights Campaign refers to conversion therapy as “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression … [that] have been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization for decades.”

Previous bills to ban the practice in Michigan were introduced in 2021 by state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield), but never were voted out of committee by the then-GOP majority. 

However, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive that same year requiring the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to take action to prohibit the use of state and federal dollars for the practice.

The House and Senate are now both controlled by Democrats.

The Advance left a message for McMorrow asking if she planned to reintroduce her legislation banning conversion therapy on minors, but she has yet to respond.

Londo also made an additional motion at Monday’s meeting requesting an opinion from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who also is a Democrat, on whether or not the censorship and banning of books and other similar conduct related to the LGBTQ+ community or other protected classes is a violation of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). 

Republicans like failed GOP gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon made book bans a centerpiece of their 2022 campaigns. There also have been several attempts from right-wing groups to ban books in local libraries and schools.

“There is a culture war on the #LGBTQ community, and depriving our queer youth from accessing materials and spaces that let them know that they are enough and that their lives have value is one of the reasons why LGBTQ suicide is an epidemic in our country,” tweeted Londo. 

To that point, Londo’s resolution notes that “LGBTQ+ youth who have undergone conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide, and more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple suicide attempts in the past year, compared to their LGBTQ+ peers who have not experienced conversion therapy.”


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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.