NYC Conversion Therapy Ban To Get Council Vote

The bill would outlaw therapy that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

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By Noah Manskar

Originally published by Patch on November 29, 2017

NEW YORK, NY — The City Council will vote Thursday on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation. The Council’s Committee on Civil Rights approved the legislation Wednesday.

The bill, which Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) introduced in June, would ban anyone from charging for therapy services that try to alter a person’s sexuality or change their gender identity to match their sex assigned at birth.

Violators would get a $1,000 fine for the first offense, a $5,000 fine for the second offense and a $10,000 for each subsequent offense.

Conversion therapy is widely assailed as an unscientific, anti-gay practice. Many lawmakers across the nation have taken steps to outlaw conversion therapy on minors, but the City Council bill would ban the treatment for adults too.

“Vulnerable individuals, including minors, are susceptible to the hucksters and scammers who are eager to earn a quick buck in this insidious way,” Dromm said at Wednesday’s committee hearing.

The legislation would not impact therapy services for transgender people or counseling for people exploring their sexual orientation, as long as it doesn’t aim to change the person’s sexuality, the bill says.

Conversion therapy, often supported and performed by religious groups, can harm young people by wrongly making them think their normal sexuality is an immoral psychological disorder, the American Psychological Association says.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy in some way, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo took steps last year to prohibit insurance companies from covering conversion therapy, but efforts to ban the practice itself have stalled in the state Legislature.

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