Minnesota's governor, Tim Walz, has filed an executive order that seeks to minimise access to conversion therapy methods for minors. The gesture circumvents the legislative process.
The order in question, Executive Order 21-25, promises to protect Minnesotans from conversion therapy, a term used to describe any practice that seeks to change or surpress someone's sexuality. Practises can vary hugely.
This effort has been submitted to Congress several times over the years, only to be blocked by the Republican-controlled majority in the state senate.
While not an outright ban, the order directs state agencies to use the legal forces in the state to bar access to the practice for those under the age of 18. The policy is considered a "first step" toward an outright ban. It will allow future attempts to restrict the practice in the coming years.
While several religious groups and ex-gay ministries have promoted conversion therapy, it has struggled to gain support. Twenty-four states have encouraged an outright ban, including several religious leaders.
Some studies estimate that hundreds of thousands of Americans have undergone some form of conversion therapy. The term has become more loosely defined in recent years.
It is also still promoted by some groups in the Protestant and Catholic churches. The Minnesota Family Council, one of the few remaining groups supporting the action, told the AP that Walz's executive order is "executive overreach."
"This executive order will not end so-called 'conversion therapy,' since professional standards in mental health care already did that years ago. Instead, this will ban young people experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria from getting the voluntary, compassionate care they need." writes MFC CEO John Helmberger.