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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) on Thursday signed an executive order significantly restricting the use of conversion therapy in the state.

Why it matters: There is no scientific evidence to support the use of conversion therapy, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which says the practice can instead lead to depression, anxiety and suicide.

  • At least 20 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have banned the controversial practice.

What they're saying: "We want you to be whoever you are, and that should seem like a pretty simple statement. The fact of the matter is, it’s not," Walz said, addressing the state's LGBTQ community.

  • "Our kids deserve to grow up in a state that values them for who they are – not one that tries to change them," he added.
  • "This Executive Order aims to protect young and vulnerable Minnesotans from the cruel and discredited practice of conversion therapy and affirms that the LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of One Minnesota."
  • "We call on our partners in the Legislature to move a comprehensive ban on conversion therapy across the finish line – but we will not wait to do what’s right."

Details: Walz's executive order restricts conversion therapy by directing the state Health and Commerce Departments to request declarations from health maintenance organizations and health plan companies that they do not cover conversion therapy.

  • It also requires the Health Department to report on the public health impacts of conversion therapy.
  • The state Human Rights Department will also investigate and pursue civil enforcement actions against health providers who engage in practices related to conversion therapy.
  • The Human Services Department is not allowed to pay for conversion therapy using state funds.

The big picture: Walz does not have the authority to fully ban the practice. That authority falls to the legislature. The GOP-controlled state Senate has pushed back on banning the practice, Axios' Torey Van Oot notes.

  • Republicans across the country object banning it because "it encroaches on religious freedom," Fox News writes.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details about the order.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
11 mins ago - Energy & Environment

The energy crises roiling Europe and China — and beyond

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Energy crises in Europe and China are spilling into economic forecasts, supply chains and beyond.

Driving the news: Europe has for weeks been facing sky-high natural gas and power prices, while China — the world's second-largest economy — is facing electricity shortages that are hobbling factories.

Americans' concern about climate hits all-time highs

The flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of heavy rain from remnants of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 2, 2021, in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After disaster-filled summer, a record number of Americans are concerned about global warming, according to a new poll from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Driving the news: The number of Americans who said they are “very” or “somewhat worried” about global warming has reached an all-time high of 70%, the Yale group found as part of a survey it has been conducting since 2008.

Senators grill top Pentagon leaders over Biden's Afghanistan exit

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, are testifying publicly this week for the first time since the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: The Pentagon's top leaders have come under intense scrutiny over the series of disasters that followed the U.S. exit, including the Taliban's seizure of Kabul, the ISIS-K terrorist attack that killed 13 U.S. service members and scores of Afghans in August, and a retaliatory U.S. drone strike that killed 10 civilians.