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Arizona County Bans Paid Gay-Conversion Therapy for Minors

Thursday Aug 3, 2017

The Pima County Board of Supervisors in Arizona approved a resolution banning paid sexual orientation "conversion therapy" for minors.

The decision made Tuesday echoes decisions in nine other states that have made conversion therapy illegal and takes the public stance that sexual identity is not a disorder or mental illness.

The ordinance will restrict "sexual orientation change efforts to change behaviors, sexual or gender identities or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings towards persons of the same sex," the resolution says.

"Conversion therapy" is the attempt to prevent or change a person from being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The ordinance won't restrict minors from having discussions with licensed therapists, religious practitioners or free counsel, only conversion therapies on minors where a fee is charged. The Arizona Daily Star reported.

Resident Paul Stratton said he has known his sexual identity since age 6 and has experienced the inefficacies of conversion therapy.

"It did not work for me and caused more problems than it solved," he said. "If you want to love your child, love them, try to understand them, be affirmative but don't put them through a voodoo kind of therapy that is just ineffective."

The resolution makes an infraction a civil offense, with the person who violates its subject to a civil fine up to $2,500 for each offense.

Supervisor Ally Miller voted no, calling the resolution one-sided and addressing concerns over the legal ramifications if the measure was approved.

"Accept me for what I am works both ways, folks," she said.

"Quite frankly it scares me to death because I believe passing this ordinance will put Pima County taxpayers at risk for loss of federal funding and state funding."

Supervisor Steve Christy also voted no, citing it as one of many national resolutions coming to the board and taking time away from dealing with local issues, KGUN-TV reported. He noted that if therapists do this kind of work for free, the ordinance would not prevent it.

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