Seattle’s City Council has unanimously decided to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy for people under 18.
This is the third city in the United States to enact such a ban after Cincinnati, Ohio and Miami Beach, Florida. It follows bans in California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Seattle council member Lorena Gonzalez, who sponsored the ordinance, called the practice a ‘disservice’ to LGBTI youth.
‘It’s absolutely offensive to me,’ she told KIRO-TV.
‘Instead of providing these children, who are going through perhaps a moment of confusion […] instead of providing them the support that they need, there are people out there who believe it’s appropriate to convince these children that their same-sex orientation is somehow a disease, or an illness, or something that can be cured.’
The council unanimously approved her bill yesterday (1 August).
Under the new ordinance, no mental health professional can conduct ‘conversion therapy’ on a minor, or advertise such a therapy. A first offense would bring a $500 fine, then $1,000 for every offense after that.
The ordinance would only apply to licensed mental health and medical professionals.
Religious leaders and organizations are exempt and could not be fined under a new rule.
The World Health Organization has said ‘gay cure’ therapy does not work and is considered extremely dangerous to a person’s mental and physical health.