Last week we wrote about the possibility that Seattle could be the third US city to ban the barbaric practice of conversion therapy.
And now, it has officially come to pass – Seattle have unanimously voted to ban conversion therapy for people under the age of 18. This now means that conversion therapy is banned in Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami Beach, California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.
Lorena Gonzalez, the Seattle council member who sponsored the ordinance spoke to KIRO-TV shortly before the vote: “It’s absolutely offensive to me. 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.”
As discussed before, the ban means that no mental health or medical professional can conduct conversion therapy on a minor, nor can they advertise the service. If such a person breaks this law, the first offense is $500, with any after that costing $1,000.
However, this means that churches and other such organisations are not covered under the ban, and could in theory practice conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is widely condemned as barbaric, with the W.H.O rightfully calling it extremely dangerous to a person’s mental health.
“Services that purport to “cure” people with non-heterosexual sexual orientation lack medical justification and represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of affected people, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a position statement launched on 17 May, 2012, the International Day against Homophobia. The statement calls on governments, academic institutions, professional associations and the media to expose these practices and to promote respect for diversity.”