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Conversion Therapy on Minors Banned by Council

Oct 13, 2022

Cleveland City Council on Monday (10/10) passed a ban on conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth and impose criminal penalties for mental health professionals who provide it.

The ban, proposed by Councilman Brian Mooney, applies to talk therapy, electroshock therapy and any other type of therapy or mental health treatment for children that’s administered by professionals and is intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has long been discredited as harmful by medical professionals and organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Pediatrics.

Any mental health professional providing conversion therapy to those 17 and younger in Cleveland could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

If convicted, the city would be required to report the individual to the relevant licensing board, commission or entity in charge of reviewing conduct, which could then revoke the professional’s license.

Cleveland police and the Department of Public Health would enforce the ban. It would not apply to adults, because they, unlike juveniles, can choose whether to participate. Other council members joined Councilman Mooney in sponsoring the legislation including  Kerry McCormack, Jenny Spencer, Rebecca Maurer, Stephanie Howse, Kevin Conwell, Deborah Gray, Jasmin Santana, Brian Kazy and Blaine Griffin.

A growing list of locations have moved to ban conversion therapy in recent years, including 25 U.S. states.

In Ohio, the cities that have banned the practice include Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton, Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Kent, Athens and Reynoldsburg.