Adam Zemke, the same Michigan Democrat who introduced freedom-to-marry legislation in the state House last year, has stepped up to the plate for the LGBT community again, proposing a bill that would outlaw "ex-gay" torture for minors.
Legislation introduced last week by state Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor, seeks to ban gay conversion therapy for minors. House Bill 5703 would amend Michigan's mental health code to prohibit health professionals from attempting to change the sexual orientation of anyone under 18 years old.
"The evidence shows you cannot change sexual orientation, so the legislation was kind of a no-brainer," Zemke said. "We want to make sure children cannot be exposed to situations that are emotionally harmful to them because of their parents' beliefs or desires to try to change their orientation."
Calling a ban on conversion therapy for minors a "civil rights" issue, Zemke noted that New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed similar legislation into law last year. California and New York have similar statewide youth bans, which have survived various legal challenges.
Literally every major mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals has denounced "ex-gay" therapy as scientifically baseless, ineffective, and potentially dangerous. But overwhelming medical evidence may not be enough to sway Rep. Gail Haines, whose Health Policy Committee will have to approve the bill before it can go to the full House: "I think creating new laws that intervene in the relationship between parents and a child seems unnecessary," she said.
But Zemke says that if his proposal protects even one child, it will be worth it. "Ex-gay" therapy survivor Patrick McAlvey agrees:
"There's not a question about whether ["ex-gay" therapy is] harmful or dangerous. It is, and it's time we do what we can to protect kids in Michigan from it."
h/t: David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement.