Photo of a rainbow flag with text "Together, we can protect LGBTQ Minnesotans"

Protect Love: A (pre)Valentines Day Action and Rally

MINNEAPOLIS — February 13, 2019 — After powerful testimony from faith leaders, mental health professionals, and survivors of the discredited and dangerous practice known as conversion “therapy,” the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee passed the Mental Health Protections Act by vote of 10 for and 6 against through the committee today.

OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) advocacy organization, held a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in support of the Mental Health Protections Act (H.F. 12). More than 75 supporters attended the press conference and the House Health and Human Services Committee hearing. They brought more than 500 Valentine’s Day cards from concerned Minnesotans urging legislators to support mental health protections for queer and trans community members and vote yes to pass the Mental Health Protections Act.

Roger Sanchez, a survivor of conversion “therapy,” spoke about his experience: “When I came forward about my ‘same-sex attraction’ my church bishop recommended 'conversion therapy.' At the time, I did not know the negative consequences it would have in my life. I cried and contemplated suicide to end my suffering. Although the effects of conversion therapy led to substance abuse and have continued to play out throughout my life, I eventually connected with a therapist who helped me start healing.”

Roger Sanchez, a survivor of conversion “therapy,”

Roger Sanchez, a survivor of conversion “therapy,” spoke about his experience: “When I came forward about my ‘same-sex attraction’ my church bishop recommended 'conversion therapy.' At the time, I did not know the negative consequences it would have in my life. I cried and contemplated suicide to end my suffering. Although the effects of conversion therapy led to substance abuse and have continued to play out throughout my life, I eventually connected with a therapist who helped me start healing.”

Faith leaders from across the state are calling for the passage of this legislation. Leaders like Reverend David W. Comstock, “We are called, as believers, to love our neighbors and treat them as Christ would — to recognize that they are wonderfully created in God’s image, just as we ourselves are. This call from Christ, this commandment, compels me to fight against the practice known as conversion therapy. My faith compels me to speak out against anyone who would try and use Christ’s name to harm others.”

“We are called, as believers, to love our neighbors and treat them as Christ would — to recognize that they are wonderfully created in God’s image, just as we ourselves are. This call from Christ, this commandment, compels me to fight against the practice known as conversion therapy. My faith compels me to speak out against anyone who would try and use Christ’s name to harm others.”

Reverend David W. Comstock

"Minnesota’s commitment to the highest standard of health care should extend to all Minnesotans," said Representative Hunter Cantrell, the bill’s Chief Author. "There is no scientific evidence supporting this harmful practice and it has no place in good governance and sound health care policy."

The Mental Health Protections Act would make Minnesota the 16th state to protect LGBTQ people from the harmful effects of conversion “therapy.” This practice has been condemned by the United Nations as torture and discredited by every major medical organization in the United States.

Sue Abderholden, the Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness MN (NAMI MN), also spoke in support of the legislation: “Minnesotans deserve ethical and sound therapy that recognizes their full humanity and dignity. Conversion therapy is harmful and there is no research demonstrating its efficacy. NAMI calls for the passage of the Mental Health Protections Act.”

“Minnesotans deserve ethical and sound therapy that recognizes their full humanity and dignity. Conversion therapy is harmful and there is no research demonstrating its efficacy. NAMI calls for the passage of the Mental Health Protections Act.”

Sue Abderholden, the Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness MN (NAMI MN)

OutFront Minnesota’s mission is to create a state where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people are free to be who they are, love who they love, and live without fear of violence, harassment or discrimination. For more than 30 years we have led the way toward LGBTQ equity.

If you or someone you know has been subjected and harmed by "conversion therapy", we are here to help. Our helpline is operated 24/7 and has trained staff and volunteers to ensure you have access to the resources you need.

If you would like to join the fight to #ProtectLove sign our petition to ban this harmful, fraudulent practice and learn more about getting involved.