LAKE WORTH — The city is a step closer to making it illegal for anyone in Lake Worth to use conversion therapy to change the sexual orientation of a minor who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
By a unanimous vote on first reading tonight, city commissioners passed an ordinance that would ban the controversial practice in the city.
“Nationally this has been a topic,” said Commissioner Andy Amoroso who is openly gay and who drafted the ordinance. “Never did I think in my lifetime that I would have to have an ordinance like this. Unfortunately we have to address this for the future of our young adults.”
A public hearing has been set for Jan. 10. The ordinance will need a second vote before becoming law.
West Palm Beach has passed a similar ordinance. So has Miami Beach, Cincinnati, Seattle. New Jersey and California have passed state-wide bans.
The Lake Worth law acknowledges that for nearly 40 years major professional associations of mental health practitioners and researchers have recognized that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease, disorder, illness or deficiency that needs to be cured.
The city said that attempting to convert someone to a different sexual orientation or gender is harmful — especially to young people.
Conversion therapy is a practice which proponents claim can convert someone from being gay to straight, mostly by uncovering the childhood trauma through spiritual or psychological treatment that is believed to have caused a person to be gay.