Ferndale City Council OKs law banning conversion therapy
Ferndale's city council Monday passed an ordinance banning the practice of conversion therapy in the community.
Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The council voted unanimously to approve the law.
"It’s essential for (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual and intersex) people to have access to proper mental health care, and for those who are impacted by conversion therapy to access care that can start to undo the harm conversion tactics inflict," Councilwoman Julia Music said in a statement. "Council bringing up a ban on this therapy continues our mission of building safe and inclusive space to all people."
Music initiated the effort to enact the ordinance. She also serves as a community advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, asexual and intersex individuals and manages the city’s annual Ferndale Pride event.
Violations are classified as misdemeanors punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Dave Garcia, executive director for Affirmations, the area’s largest LGBTQ community center, said he supports the ban.
"Conversion therapy is hurting and killing people," he said in a statement. "I’ve seen for myself the damage this practice does to our youth. It’s not therapy, and we should not allow it in our city."
Officials said the ban will go into effect once it has been officially published.