In a unanimous vote Seattle City Council has voted to pass an ordinance to ban conversion therapy on minors.
The bill was sponsored by Seattle city council-member Lorena Gonzalez and had the support of the city mayor Ed Murray before it came to vote.
The ban prevents mental health providers or religious groups from offering ‘gay cure’ or ‘conversion’ therapies on any members of the LGBT+ community, as well as advertisement of the practice. Anyone found in breach of the ban will face a fine of $1,000.
Lorena Gonzalez spoke out on the practice, saying ‘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 appropriate to convince these children that their same-sex orientation is somehow a disease or an illness, or something that can be cured.’
‘Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender is not an illness, nor is it something that needs a cure.’
City council member Debora Juarez, a member of the Blackfleet Nation, compared the practice to the assimilation forced upon native peoples.
‘Conversion therapy is 20th century or 21st century version of what happened to my people all in the name of assimilation. We were forcibly taken from our families, from our children. I am literally one generation removed from that practice.’
‘It breaks my heart that we have to pass a law to recognise your humanity.’ She added, addressing the LGBT+ community.