CV NEWS FEED // Michigan’s Democrat-led government recently passed several different pieces of legislation—two bills affirming gender fluidity for children and five bills designed to prevent sexual abuse of minors.
Last week, the state Senate voted to pass two bills that ban conversion therapy for children. Conversion therapy helps a person who wants to change their so-called gender or sexual orientation back to their actual sex. The bills were passed by the state House earlier in June and are currently awaiting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval to be signed into law.
Whitmer is expected to sign the bills. In 2021, Whitmer signed an executive order banning the use of federal and state funds for conversion therapy, and when she signs the current bills, Michigan will become the 22nd state to ban the practice.
The bills prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in conversion therapy under penalty of having their license revoked, and add conversion therapy to the Michigan mental health code as a banned practice.
“No one should live in fear of being subjected to the discredited and dangerous practice of so-called conversation therapy,” Sarah Warbelow, vice president of the legal department for the Human Rights Campaign, said when the Senate sent the bills to Whitmer’s office for approval. “While it’s a shame that this practice has been allowed to take place for so long, today’s passage is just another example of how Michigan is rapidly progressing toward being a more inclusive and safe state for LGBTQ+ people.”
Though Catholics in Michigan are increasingly concerned about a state legislature that contradicts Church teaching, the Michigan Catholic Conference’s (MCC) advocacy for legislation protecting children from sexual abuse has paid off. The five bills, which were signed by Whitmer in late June, require the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to develop training for mandatory sex abuse reporters, investigate and revoke health professionals’ licenses who abuse minors under medical pretexts, and protect students from being expelled or suspended from school due to behavior resulting from sexual assault, among other provisions.
MCC’s advocacy for the bills comes after a heightened awareness of sexual abuse in the Church—Michigan’s diocese has trained over 230,000 Michigan residents since 2003 to prevent sexual abuse and protect children. The Catholic Church in Michigan has spent over 20 years developing resources to combat sex abuse in the Church, from VIRTUS training to victim review boards.
“We applaud the leadership of Senator Chang, Representative Filler, Representative Rogers, Senator Hauck and all the sponsors of this bipartisan package to help prevent any abuse of children in the state,” said Tom Hickson, vice president for public policy and advocacy for MCC. “For several sessions, MCC has been proud to stand with the sponsors of these bills and other abuse prevention advocates to increase protections in the medical field, classroom, and in athletics.”