U of M students draft ban on 'gay conversion therapy'

Two University of Minnesota students have drafted legislation to ban "gay conversion therapy" for minors in Minnesota.

Medical groups across the country have raised concerns about the practice that attempts to change the sexual orientation of people who are gay.

Alec Fischer and Gabe Aderhold, both sophomores at the university, are working on the legislation now and hope to introduce it next session.

Aderhold says the practice can be traumatic and should be stopped.

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"No matter the scope of how much it is happening, it is something that shouldn't happen in the state of Minnesota," Aderhold said.

The legislation would only cover licensed therapists who practice on minors. It would allow religious leaders such as pastors or priests to offer guidance to minors who are questioning their sexuality. An online petition in support of the bill so far has gathered 100,000 signatures.

California and New Jersey have already passed laws banning the therapy, Fischer said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated that religious organizations are exempt from the proposed legislation. The story has been corrected to clarify that religious leaders are allowed to offer guidance to minors who are questioning their sexuality.