Reps Condemn Conversion Therapy Workshop Planned for Downriver

Legislators back bill banning the practice, call on attorney general to investigate
Thursday, February 8, 2018

LANSING — State Reps. Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) and Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) spoke out today against the “Unashamed Identity Workshop” hosted by Metro City Church, with locations in Taylor and Riverview, and provided by FORGE Ministries for girls ages 12-16.

Zemke has introduced House Bill 5550 to prohibit mental health professionals from engaging in efforts to change the sexual orientation and gender identity of a minor. If passed, Michigan would join nine other states and the District of Columbia in having similar statutes prohibiting conversion therapy.

“It is wildly inappropriate to offer conversion therapy classes in our communities, and doing so is misrepresentative of our values as a welcoming state,” Zemke said. “I am proud to sponsor a bill to prohibit these practices in Michigan. Not only has scientific evidence overwhelmingly found that these approaches fail to accomplish their purported task, but they are also profoundly destructive and painful for the participating individual and his or her loved ones. It’s time to put an end to this terrible practice once and for all.”

The pseudoscientific practice of conversion therapy is based on the illegitimate and unscientific claim that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that must be cured. This is not only entirely false, but it can also lead the victim of conversion therapy to develop dangerous behaviors, including depression, lower self-esteem, substance abuse and even suicide. The nation’s leading mental health experts, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers and others, have all spoken out against this outdated, irresponsible and harmful practice. As a result, Zemke and Camilleri sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Schuette today urging him to investigate FORGE Ministries and Metro City Church for a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, whether FORGE Ministries and Metro City Church committed any unfair, unconscionable or deceptive practices. Reps. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), Tim Sneller (D-Burton) and Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) also signed onto the letter.

“The attorney general is uniquely situated with the power and duty to prevent those that sponsor this workshop from targeting families and young people and scamming them out of their hard-earned money for a practice that has no basis in science,” Camilleri said. “This inappropriate and destructive practice has no place in our communities. Rather than trying to change each other, we must instead come together to accept and appreciate our differences, and realize that those differences are what makes our state stronger.”

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