House Speaker Tells Gov. Hobbs To Rescind Conversion Therapy Order

July 7, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma (R-LD27) told Gov. Katie Hobbs to rescind her executive order banning conversion therapy for minors.

In a letter sent on Monday, Toma advised Hobbs that the order was likely unconstitutional since it wasn’t enacted via the legislature. Toma further warned that the order could violate the Parent’s Bill of Rights as well as the Arizona Constitution.

“Although other states have enacted laws banning conversion therapy, those states have that policy choice through the legislative choice. Your executive order is an improper exercise of your authority,” stated Toma. “The far-reaching mandates of your executive order also threatens to violate the Parents’ Bill of Rights […] and Arizonans’ constitutional rights, including patients’ rights to freely speak with their therapists[.]”

Toma further criticized the governor for her definition of “conversion therapy,” which he asserted was “unprecedented, vague, unintelligible, and unenforceable.” The main reason for this, Toma asserted, was because Hobbs’ team came up with it themselves.

“[T]he executive order’s ban on ‘conversion therapy’ is a ban defined by your administration alone — bearing no resemblance to the laws of other states,” stated Toma. “State agencies directed to implement your executive order cannot even begin to understand what constituted a banned ‘conversion therapy.’”

In one of two executive orders related to LGBTQ+ issues last week, Hobbs banned state or federal resources to promote, support, or enable any conversion therapy. The governor defined conversion therapy as the following:

“‘Conversion therapy’ means any practice or treatment that seeks or purports to change an individual’s non-heteronormative sexual orientation or non-cisgender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expression, under the false premise that homosexuality and gender-diverse identities are pathological. This does not include gender-affirming care.”

The states that banned conversion therapy through legislative statute are New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, Maine, Utah, Virginia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania enacted conversion therapy bans via executive orders. 

Federal courts in Florida have twice ruled against similar bans — in November 2020 in February — as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. 

In her executive order, Hobbs cited general consensus from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Counselor Association, and the National Association of Social Workers that conversion therapy poses a danger to minors.

The governor also cited a duty to use taxpayer funds on fiscally sound, safe, credited, effective, and evidence-based practices.

The other executive order expanded state employee health care plans to cover gender transition surgery.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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