Pima Co. Board of Supervisors bans paid gay conversion therapy
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance to ban gay conversion therapy Tuesday, Aug. 1.
This practice, also known as reparative therapy, aims to turn LGBT people "straight."
The new ordinance says no one can collect a fee for performing so-called conversion therapy on minors. The fine is up $2,500.
The vote followed a nearly 3-hour board meeting, which was capped by nearly 50 people who argued for and against the ordinance.
Supervisor Richard Elias proposed the ordinance.
"I understand the rights of parents, and you should be able to parent your children the way you want, but I think being LGBT is not a question of something that somebody wants. It's a matter of who they are," he said.
"A lot of conversion therapies are frankly very abusive of those people who undergo them, and not something they want to do, and so it becomes an act opposing of who they are as a person, and I think that's very wrong."
Some supervisors came out against the ban ahead of the vote.
In a Facebook post Supervisor Ally Miller said, "Reminds me of what just happened in England with Charlie Gard. Government will now be deciding what type of counseling your children receive."
She added, "I support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. That is it ... period."
The supporters of the ordinance say there is no scientific evidence that a person can change their sexual orientation.
The opponents argued it is about parental rights and being able to make decisions for their children.
Some psychologists argued the therapy increases the risk of suicide among minors who receive the therapy.
Elias, argued it's a "civil rights issue." and countered that it is always the right of parents to decide.
"The rights of parents are limited here in American society and part of that is protecting our children from abusive practices," he said.
District 4 Supervisor Steve Christy, who voted against the ordinance, said abusive behavior should be handled by the state Child Protective Services and not Pima County.
Miller, who also voted no, said the county would likely end up in court. However, the US Supreme Court upheld the California ban in March.
Pima County joins 10 states and at least 20 cities that have banned the therapy when it comes to minors.
Read the full ordinance here.
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