Bill Banning Conversion Therapy Headed to Seattle City Council

Thursday July 28, 2016

Seattle is poised to become the third city in the country with a ban on gay conversion therapy for minors. An ordinance banning the practice unanimously passed a committee handling civil rights and his heading for a vote by the full City Council on Monday. If passed, Seattle will join Cincinnati and Washington, D.C. as cities that have bans on the harmful practice. Similar bans are in effect statewide in California, Oregon, Illinois and New Jersey.

According to KIRO7, the ordinance calls for both steep fines and jail time for practitioners who break the law. A first-time offender would face a $500 fine. All subsequent offenses will cost $1,000. Additionally, anyone found advertising conversion therapy services for minors would be charged with false and deceptive advertising. That misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of a $300 fine, 90 days behind bars or both.

"It's absolutely offensive to me, that 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. And I think that that does a disservice," said Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez, who sponsored the ordinance.

The bill specifically applies to licensed mental health and medical professionals. Religious leaders are exempt and can provide any form of "guidance" they choose.

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