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Senate turns back effort to ban payments to 'pray the gay away' therapy

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: April 24, 2012 - 7:01 PM

On a bipartisan 27-40 vote, the Senate Tuesday turned back a move to ban government reimbursement for reparative or conversion therapy to 'pray the gay away."

The move would have made an otherwise noncontroversial measure on health and human services policy, which did not deal with reimbursement for any specific therapy, very controversial, said Republican Sen. David Hann, of Eden Prairie.

DFL Sen. Scott Dibble, who sponsored the amendment that was rejected, said the fact that Medicaid pays for therapy purported to help homosexual people become heterosexual was 'galling and problematic.'

"Taxpayers are paying for what amounts to religious instruction and treatment that actively harms otherwise normal and healthy people," Dibble told colleagues on the Senate floor.

During Republican Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign her husband, a counselor, was accused of offering counseling to convert gay men to heterosexuality. The Bachmann's had previously denied the accusation.  The clinic has received Medicaid payments.

Dibble's proposal would have banned Medicaid reimbursement for reparative or conversion therapy.

During the brief debate on Dibble's move to amend the ban onto a health and human services bill, Sen. David Brown asked Dibble about his religious beliefs.

"Sen. Dibble, I assume by the hand out that you have that your feeling is that the power of Jesus Christ doesn't have the power to redeem anyone. How would you respond to that?" Brown, R-Becker, asked Dibble.

"I absolutely believe that is true: that the power of Jesus Christ does have the power to redeem someone," Dibble responded.

Without the Dibble amendment, the health and human bill unanimously passed the Senate.

 

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