Seattle Bans Gay Conversion Therapy

The Seattle City Council unanimously voted Monday to ban conversion therapy for queer youth.  In doing so, they’re joining five other states, The District of Columbia as well as Miami and Cincinnati.

Gay conversion therapy, which claims to help gay individuals overcome their same-sex attraction has been called potentially harmful and discredited by the World Psychiatric Association and numerous mental health professionals.

With this new law, mental health providers are prohibited from offering or advertising conversion therapy to minors. Anyone found to be practicing such therapy on minors will be subject to a civil violation carrying penalties of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent ones. Seattle will also spend around $50,000 in advertising directed to LGBTQ youth to raise awareness that the therapy is now banned.

The bill was introduced in July by Seattle Council member Lorena Gonzalez, who called conversion therapy harmful. “Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or transgender is not an illness, nor is it something that needs a cure,” she said at the time.

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